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National Restaurant Association - RPI drops in May

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RPI drops in May

Due in large part to softer same-store sales and customer traffic results, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined in May.  The RPI stood at 100.6 in May, down 0.9 percent from a level of 101.6 in April. 

"The RPI continued along a choppy trend line in May, with the index bouncing between moderate gains and losses in recent months," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association.  

"Much of the May dip came from declines in the same-store sales and customer traffic indicators, which softened from their stronger April performance. In addition, operators’ expectations for future business conditions are at the lowest level in three and a half years," he said.

The RPI consists of two components – the Current Situation Index (measuring current trends) and the Expectations Index (measuring restaurant operators' six-month outlook) – and tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry.

The Current Situation Index stood at 100.2 in May, down 1.8 percent from April. Despite the decline, it remained above 100, which continues to signify expansion in the current situation indicators. 

For the first time in five months, restaurant operators reported a net decline in same-store sales. Forty percent reported a same-store sales gain between May 2015 and May 2016, down from 58 percent who reported higher sales in April. Meanwhile, 42 percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline in May, up from 27 percent.

In addition, 27 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between May 2015 and May 2016, down from 52 percent who reported higher customer traffic in April. Forty-six percent of operators said their traffic declined in May, up from 32 percent in April. Despite the softer sales and traffic, restaurant operators continued to report positive capital spending levels.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.0 in May, unchanged from its April level.  Although the Expectations Index trended somewhat lower in recent months, it remains above 100 in expansion territory.

More details are available at Restaurant.org/RPI and Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).

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