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National Restaurant Association - Stronger sales, traffic fuel RPI in April

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Stronger sales, traffic fuel RPI in April

Fueled by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic results, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a moderate gain in April. The RPI stood at 101.6 in April, up 0.9 percent from March.

“The RPI’s April increase was driven by improvements in the current situation indicators over March,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association. “In contrast, the Expectations Index softened for the third consecutive month, as restaurant operators remained uncertain about future business conditions.”

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 102.1 in April – up 1.9 percent from a level of 100.2 in March. April represented the third consecutive month in which the Current Situation index stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the current situation indicators.

Fifty-eight percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between April 2015 and April 2016, up from 46 percent who reported higher sales in March. Operators also reported a solid improvement in customer traffic levels, with 52 percent saying there they saw an increase between April 2015 and April 2016.

Restaurant operators also continued to report healthy capital spending activity in April. Sixty-four percent said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months. Similarly, 58 percent say they plan to make a capital expenditure in the next six months.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.0 in April – down 0.2 percent from March. Although April represented the third consecutive monthly decline, it marked the 42nd consecutive month above 100. However, operators’ six-month outlook for sales softened for the second month in a row and their opinions are mixed about the direction of the overall economy.

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

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