Restaurant sales declined in August

After posting steady growth during the first seven months of 2019, restaurant sales declined in August. According to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, eating and drinking place sales totaled a seasonally-adjusted $64.1 billion in August.

This was down 1.2 percent* from July’s record high of $64.9 billion, and represented the lowest monthly sales volume since May ($64.0 billion). 

Despite the decline, eating and drinking place sales were up 3.7 percent on a year-to-date basis through August 2019. This outpaced the 3.1 percent increase in grocery store sales and 3.3 percent gain in total retail sales during the same period.

*Note that these August sales figures are based on preliminary estimates, which are often subject to substantial revisions. In addition, the large percent decline may be partially impacted by seasonal adjustment issues, as the August 2018 sales volume was unusually high. As a result, these preliminary estimates may not be a true indication of restaurant sales in August.

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Track more economic indicators and read more analysis and commentary from the Association's chief economist Bruce Grindy.