U.S. restaurant industry same-store sales fell 0.2% in March, with guest traffic down 3.4%, partly due to rise in gas prices, according to new report

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

Apr 19, 2012 – Black Box Intelligence

DALLAS , April 19, 2012 () – Wallace Doolin, Chairman and Founder of BBI stated; “The results for March were disappointing following 6 straight months of positive comparable sales growth. Comparable Store Sales and Traffic were both negative dropping approximately +2.0% and +3.0% espectively from the month of February. While February comps were driven in many regions by a favorable weather rollover, it appears the reverse effect impacted the Northeast and Midwest during record breaking warm weather in March. Our Consumer Edge Research Willingness to Spend Index is indicative of the consumer remains concerned about the effect high gas prices on restaurant spending. On a positive note, the last two weeks of March were positive Comp Store Sales.”

Highlights for March include negative comparable store sales of -0.20%, with guest traffic of -3.40%. Sales were negative in both food and alcoholic beverages. Results were most positive in the Texas region posting positive comp store sales of 2.26% for the month, while New England fared the worst, with negative sales of -3.40%. BBI currently reports on 76 distinct concepts distributed in 117 DMA’s (designated market areas).

Job growth of 4.3% was positive and stronger than the 2.6% in the previous month. People Report currently tracks over 1 million employees each month. The CER Restaurant Willingness to Spend Index, calculated monthly from household surveys of over 2500 consumers, showed a deterioration in the index, the second straight month of decline. 
For more information about Black Box Intelligence membership or this release, please contact Bill Schaffler, COO, at bill.schaffler@prbbi.com.

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