Soft traffic drags on June RPI

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) declined in June on soft customer traffic. The RPI for June was 101.3, down from 102.1 reported in May and the first decline in four months.

“Although overall same-store sales remained positive in June, the RPI dipped as a result of softer customer traffic levels,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group. “Looking forward, restaurant operators are generally optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, and their outlook for capital spending remains near post-recession highs.”

But despite soft customer traffic, the index remained above 100 for the 16th consecutive month, indicating expansion in key industry indicators, according to the NRA.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures, stood at 100.9 in June – down 1.1 percent from May and the first decline in four months. But the Current Situation Index stood above 100 for the fourth consecutive month, a sign of expansion in the current situation indicators, according to the Association.

A majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales, though overall results were lower compared to the May performance. More than half of foodservice operators (55 percent) reported a same-store sales gain between June 2013 and June 2014, down from 65 percent of foodservice operators who reported similarly in May. The NRA noted that 27 percent of foodservice operators reported a same-store sales decline in June, up from 19 percent from May.

Reports of increased customer traffic declined in June as 39 percent of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic levels between June 2013 and June 2014, down from 47 percent who reported higher traffic in May. Meanwhile, 41 percent of operators reported declining customer traffic in June, up from 29 percent reporting in May.

Capital spending activity remained flat from May to June, according to the NRA. Fifty-three percent of foodservice operators reported a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months.

Foodservice operators remain generally optimistic about sales growth, with 44 percent of operators expecting to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period a year ago), down from 50 percent who reported similarly in May. Only 10 percent of foodservice operators expect sales volume in six months to be lower compared to same period a year ago, up from 8 percent in May.
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