• NRA
    NRA We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • NRAEF
    NRAEF Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • NRA Show
    NRA Show May 16-19, 2015 As the international foodservice marketplace, the NRA Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.
  • Edge
    Edge Edge℠ Prepaid Discover® Card Simplify payroll processes, realize cost savings and improve productivity while providing a valuable financial tool that is uniquely tailored to fit your employees’ lifestyle.

National Restaurant Association - Economist's Notebook: Restaurant sales dampened in January and February

Skip to navigation Skip to content

We've updated our website to make your information more secure. To ensure your experience is not interrupted, download the latest version of your web browser.  read more

News & Research

Share:
Email Print
News RSS

Economist's Notebook: Restaurant sales dampened in January and February

In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the Census Bureau’s preliminary monthly sales data.  Total restaurant sales volume declined in both January and February, as higher gas prices and the payroll tax hike impacted consumers’ cash on hand.

The overall economy appeared to generally shrug off the impact of the payroll tax hike, and the Census Bureau’s preliminary sales data indicated that total retail spending remained strong in February.  However, a look inside the numbers indicates that spending in some discretionary sectors declined, which means the combination of rising gas prices and the payroll tax hike likely took their toll on consumers’ cash on hand during the first two months of the year. 

According to preliminary Census data, sales at eating and drinking places, furniture and home furnishing stores, and electronics and appliances stores fell in both January and February from their December levels. 

For eating and drinking places, monthly sales hit a record high of $45.7 billion in December, on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  Sales rang in at $45.4 billion in January, before dipping to $45.1 billion in February.  In total, this amounts to a total sales shortfall of roughly $900 million from December’s baseline level.  (Note that these figures are preliminary, and will potentially be revised by the Census Bureau in upcoming releases.)

Although the payroll tax holiday won’t be returning, gas prices have begun to decline somewhat from the run-up to start the year.  After rising nearly 50 cents from the beginning of January to the end of February, gas prices edged down 7 cents during the first 2 weeks in March.  Further declines would help improve consumers’ cash on hand position, which will be much needed as the sequester-induced slowdown is likely to take hold in the months ahead.

Read more from the Economist’s Notebook. For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper  (subscription required).

Total Eating and Drinking Place Sales
Seasonally-adjusted month-to-month percent change

   Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Conserve RSS Healthcare NewsHealthcare RSS

▲ Back to Top

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2013 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156