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FE&SFlashNews — 2005-01-31 — News

January 31, 2005

NRA Index Ties All-Time High

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index increased by 1.7% to 105% in December, matching its previous record high.

The index, a monthly barometer of the health of the U.S. foodservice industry, is based on a survey of restaurant and foodservice operators. It consists of two portions: the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index, both of which grew compared to their November levels.

The Current Situation Index grew by 3.1% from November to December, the highest single-month gain on record, and now stands at 110.8%. Fueling this growth were operators’improved same-store sales results. According to the study, approximately 65% of respondents reported higher same-store sales in December 2004 compared to December 2003, while just 20% said their same-store sales dropped during the period. In November, only 47% of operators reported year-over-year same-store sales growth, while 33% reported a decline in their same-store sales.

Improved customer traffic fueled December’s same-store sales growth. Fifty-five percent of operators said their customer traffic grew period-over-period, up from 35% who made the same claim in November. Meanwhile, just 25% reported a drop in customer traffic in December, down from November’s 38%.

While the Current Situation Index contributed the most to the RPI’s December increase, the survey’s Expectations Index grew in December, as well, rising by 0.4% to 103.5%.

According to the study, 66% of operators anticipate having higher same-store sales in six months compared to the same period a year ago, up from 61% in the previous RPI and the strongest level in eight months.

In the area of spending plans, some 69% of operators said they anticipate making a capital expenditure on equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months —the strongest level in nine months.

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