RPI Edged Down In October, But Forward-Looking Indicators Rise
Even though current same-store sales and traffic sagged again in October, the presidential election appears to have cheered up restaurant operators, according to the latest Restaurant Performance Index data from the National Restaurant Association. The overall index slid to 100.5 from 100.8 in September. But the Expectations Index rose 0.8 point to 101.6 as three of the four components increased. The RPI is configured so that readings of any component above 100 signal expansion while those below signal contraction. The two capital spending indicators were lower in October.
The Current Situation Index fell to 99.5 in October from 101 in November as all four components declined. Nearly all year, the Current Situation Index has seesawed between expansion and contraction. Same-store sales fell 1.6 points to 99.3 and the traffic marker dropped 2.4 points to 97.7. The labor indicator, which tracks current employee counts and hours, was off 1.3 point to 98.8 and the measure tracking capital spending the past three months fell 0.1 point to a still elevated 102.3
In the Expectations Index, the six-month outlook for same-store sales rose 0.4 point to 101.6 and the staffing index rose 0.7 point to 100.5. The outlook for capital spending fell a full point to 101.7. The most significant change in the index was a 3.3 point increase in the outlook for general business conditions. The marker rose to 101.8, the first time this indicator has been above the 100 tipping point since October 2015.