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National Restaurant Association - Stronger sales, traffic in July boost RPI

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Stronger sales, traffic in July boost RPI

Driven by stronger same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a solid gain in July. 

The RPI stood at 102.7 in July, up 0.7 percent from June and the first gain in three months. In addition, July represented the 29th consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“July’s RPI gain was fueled primarily by an improvement in the current situation indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association.  “Although a solid majority of operators reported higher same-store sales and customer traffic levels in July, their outlook for both sales growth and the economy is more cautious compared to recent months.”

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 103.7 in July – up 1.2 percent from June and the strongest increase since December 2014. In addition, the Current Situation Index stood above 100 for the 17th consecutive month. Seventy-three percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between July 2014 and July 2015, up from 64 percent who reported higher sales in June. In addition, 59 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between July 2014 and July 2015, up from 47 percent in June.

Seventy-two percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, marking the 10th consecutive month in which a majority of operators reported making an expenditure. Sixty-six percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure in the next six months, up from 59 percent in June.

The Expectations Index stood at 101.7 in July – up slightly from a level of 101.5 in June. Overall, July represented the 33rd consecutive month in which the Expectations Index stood above 100, which indicates restaurant operators remain generally positive about business conditions in the months ahead.  

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

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