US July sales up, footfall down
13 August, 2012
Restaurant sales in the US edged up by 0.8% in July, according to research for Nation’s Restaurant News—but comparable traffic slipped 1.0%.
The figures from Black Box Intelligence revealed that July started strongly before faltering later on in the month, in line with evidence of stuttering consumer expectations. “Our members reported positive same-store sale in food and in alcoholic beverages,” Black Box said. “When sales did soften, it occurred predictably in the dine-in area, as to-go sales and catering were both very strong.”
Regional breakdown of the figures showed the Midwest increasing sales despite a heatwave, while the West saw turnover slip.
Black Box says the data shows continued uncertainty over spending and brand choice—trends that are very much in evidence in the UK too. “We believe that the consumer is essentially in a constant state of flux. Our assumption is that with the speed of technology today, consumers spend with their mood as influenced by what is happening on the short-term digital highway.”
The current high unemployment rate was continuing to drag the market down—forcing all operators to up their game. “Marketing, pricing and product are all important, but only if someone owns the result in their market. Whether you are a chain or an independent, you have to win in your market… not all boats are lifted or fall by the tide; some just out-sail the rest.”
For the full story, see Restaurants must win markets to fight consumer flux.