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Restaurants suffer declining sales, traffic in August

October 08, 2009|Jerry Hirsch

The recession continues to take a bite out of eateries.

The National Restaurant Assn. reported that the industry's performance continued to decline in August, the latest period for which it has data.

The association's restaurant performance index -- which tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry -- stood at 97.9 in August, down 0.2% from July.

It's the third decline in the last four months, the trade group said.

The group's index is based on responses to its survey about such indicators as sales, customer traffic, labor and capital expenditures.

The survey found that restaurants continued to suffer from deteriorating sales and traffic levels in August. Only 17% of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between August 2008 and August 2009. That's the lowest reading in the seven-year history of the index.

More than two-thirds, or 68%, of operators reported a same-store sales decline in August, up from 58% who reported negative sales in July.

Customer traffic levels also dropped off in August.

Only 15% of restaurant operators reported an increase in customer traffic between August 2008 and August 2009, the trade group said.

That's down from 23% that reported higher traffic in July.

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jerry.hirsch@latimes.com

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