Foodservice Equipment Reports

While NRA’s RPI Down Again, Cap Ex Measures Rise

We’ve said for months that the current recovery of the foodservice equipment and supplies market is unusual. While E&S sales usually lag operator fortunes, in this recovery increased capital spending anticipated an upturn in operator sales. And sales have continued to rise most of this year.

The August version of the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index continued the weird trend. While the overall index fell 0.3 point to 99.4, its lowest level in 13 months, both capital expenditure indicators rose. Another glimmer of good news was a slight increase in operators’ expectations about future business conditions.

Falling same-store sales and traffic dragged down the overall index, which fell for the second consecutive month. Current same-store sales were off 0.6 point while traffic dropped a full point. The labor indicator also was down. The four-component Current Situation Index was down 0.5 point. But the indicator tracking operators that made a capital buy during the past three months rose 0.3 point. The percentage of operators making a purchase rose to 44% from 43% in July.

The Expectations Index fell only 0.1 point. Expectations of future same-store sales and the labor outlook fell. But the measure of future business conditions rose 0.1 point and plans of operators to make capital purchases during the next six months rose 0.4 point, with 44% planning a purchase, up from 42%.

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