Restaurant sales continue to slow, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Eating and drinking place sales totaled $45.3 billion in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis, down 1.2 percent from May’s revised sales volume of $45.8 billion.
“After April’s record-high sales volume, it’s not surprising to see some moderation in sales occurring. However, the late summer season typically brings a boost from travel and tourism, with August being the most common month for leisure travel activity,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association.
Despite edging down for two consecutive months, restaurant sales remain a solid 3.1 percent above the June 2012 sales volume, indicating that the overall operating environment has improved over the last year.
Other economic indicators also point to a positive business environment for restaurant operators. Important because it drives disposable income and the need for convenience, national job growth continues at a moderate pace. In addition, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index is at its highest level since January 2008, indicating growing consumer optimism regarding business and labor market conditions.
Restaurant operators generally share this optimism, as the May Restaurant Performance Index reached a 14-month high, with 47 percent of operators expecting improved sales in the coming months (compared to the same period the previous year); only 8 percent expect sales to be worse in six months.