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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant sales down slightly in January

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Restaurant sales down slightly in January

After trending up in the second half of 2015, restaurant industry sales slipped slightly in January 2016, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Eating-and-drinking-place sales totaled $53.5 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in January, a decline of 0.5 percent over December’s sales volume of $53.8 billion.

Total retail spending has been uneven throughout the past year, further indicating that consumers remain undecided on their willingness to spend in the current economic environment.

“In addition to the overall moderate economic growth environment, severe weather in many parts of the country so far this year has likely negatively impacted consumer spending in several categories, including restaurants,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association.

“January is typically a month when sales can soften somewhat as it comes on the heels of holiday spending, and weather factors aren’t uncommon this time of year. Our research shows that restaurateurs say winter temperatures colder than normal have the strongest adverse effect on their business compared with other weather conditions. However, some restaurant operators located in malls and other indoor venues may actually see the opposite,” Riehle said.

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