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National Restaurant Association - Softer sales, traffic cause RPI slip in August

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Softer sales, traffic cause RPI slip in August

As a result of softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined to its lowest level in 11 months in August. 

The RPI stood at 101.5 in August, down 1.2 percent from July.  Despite the decline, August represented the 30th consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“The RPI's August decline was the result of broad-based declines in the current situation indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “Same-store sales and customer traffic softened from July’s strong levels, while the labor and capital spending indicators also dipped.”

“Despite the declines, each of the current situation indicators were in expansion territory above 100, which indicates the restaurant industry remains on a positive growth trajectory,” Riehle added.

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 101.4 in August – down 2.3 percent from July and the lowest level since November 2014.  Despite the decline, the Current Situation Index remained above 100 for the 18th consecutive month.

Though much softer than the July readings, a majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales for the 18th consecutive month - 56 percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between August 2014 and August 2015, down from 73 percent who reported higher sales in July. Operators also reported softer customer traffic results in August, with 41 percent reporting increases, compared with 59 percent the previous month.

Restaurant operators continued to report solid capital spending activity in August, with 63 percent saying they made a one during the last three months. In addition, 60 percent say they will make a capital expenditure in the next 6 months.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.6 in August – down slightly from a level of 101.7 in July - representing the 34th consecutive month above 100. 

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

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