NRA’s Performance Index Softens Again As Expectations Sag

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Expectations are everything, especially when it comes to capital spending. And unfortunately, foodservice operators’ outlook for the next six months fell for the third straight month in the June Restaurant Performance Index survey fielded by the National Restaurant Association. Both indicators tracking capital spending also declined.All four components of the Expectations Index fell, dragging the…

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GDP, Consumer Spending Grew More Slowly Than Expected In Second Quarter

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Real gross-domestic product in the U.S. grew more slowly in the second quarter than many economists expected. The numbers for personal consumption expenditures were also well below most of the forecasts. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported real GDP increased 2.4% on an annualized basis in the second quarter. The consensus forecast from Blue Chip…

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A Little Pressure Comes Off Metals Prices

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After a nearly yearlong run-up in the prices of many key metals used in foodservice equipment and supplies, prices have plateaued and even fallen since the beginning of June. According to O’Neal Steel, writing in the July issue of Prime Advantage’s PrimeTimes e-newsletter, nickel surcharges for stainless grades such as 304 and 430 have fallen…

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Consumer Confidence Fall Worrisome

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A factor worrying many macroeconomists, as well as foodservice prognosticators, is the sudden collapse of consumer confidence. The Thomson/Reuters University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index tumbled to 67.8 in July from 76 in June. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell another 3.9 points to 50.4 in July, following a nearly 10-point drop in June.…

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More Than 5,000 Restaurant Units Closed In Past Year, NPD Reports

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The number of restaurants in the U.S. declined by 1% for the year ended March 31, 2010, according to the latest data from NPD Group’s ReCount census. Independent operators bore the brunt of the pain, the count shows. The total number of net closures was 5,204 units, leaving a total of 579,416 units Losses were…

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Don’t Expect A Quick Foodservice Recovery, Says Technomic’s Pawlak

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Writing in the July issue of The Technomic Viewpoint, Technomic Inc. v.p, Joe Pawlak cautions that the recovery in foodservice remains very fragile and is likely to drag out for years. While there is some basis for optimism, Pawlak notes that very slow employment growth and same-store sales that are just a slower rate of…

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State Tax Revenues Rise Slightly In First Quarter

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For the first time since the third quarter of 2008, overall state tax revenues rose in the first quarter ’10 versus the first quarter year prior, according to the latest data from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, based in Albany, N.Y. But the increase was only 2.5% and almost all the increase was…

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Wholesale Food Prices Fell Again In June As Menu Prices Inched Higher

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Food prices fell at the wholesale level for the third consecutive month in June, according to producer-price data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, food prices at the consumer level also were down overall, with grocery-store prices off 0.1% and menu prices up a mere 0.1% for the third consecutive month. Overall wholesale food…

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Hurry! Time Running Out To Register For FER Forecast Meeting

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You only have this week to register for Foodservice Equipment Reports annual President’s Preview E&S Market Forecast meeting. The day-long event is set for Wednesday, Aug. 4 at the Hotel Orrington, in Evanston, Ill. The meeting offers senior manufacturing executives, dealers, multiunit operators and others interested in E&S trends an in-depth analysis and forecast of…

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Food Prices Down, Menu Prices Flat, Gas Prices Up A Bit

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Wholesale food prices fell for the second consecutive month in May, easing concerns that the run-up in the key cost component for most operators other than labor would begin to crimp operators’ ability to discount while sales remain sluggish, and undermine margins. At the finished foods level, prices were off 0.6%, following a 0.2% drop…

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