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NRA: Operators Show 'Solid' Gains in February; Optimism Pervades Industry

WASHINGTON, DC - The restaurant industry's outlook continued to improve in February, buoyed by reported solid gains in same store sales and optimism among operators, according to the National Restaurant Association's comprehensive index of restaurant activity released here.

The NRA's Restaurant Performance Index, a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, stood at 102.1 in February, up 0.3% from 101.7 in January. The NRA report substantiates much of what foodservice distribution executives have told ID Access in interviews over the past couple of months.

February's solid Index performance marked the 22nd consecutive month above 100, which represents expansion in the composite index of eight key industry indicators, the NRA said.

"February's sales comparisons were more challenging due to the extra leap year day in February 2004, but operators benefited from Valentine's Day falling on a normally slower Monday in 2005, as compared to a Saturday in 2004," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and information services. "This, combined with a solid economic environment, resulted in a majority of restaurant operators reporting same-store sales gains in February, with operators reporting net positive customer traffic levels as well."

The Restaurant Performance Index is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. The Index consists of two components - the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. (Click on the following link to view this month's Index report: http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/index/200502.pdf.

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