Commercial food service sales rise 2% in January

by Staff
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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Commercial food service sales in January rose only 2% over the same month of the previous year, according to The NPD Group, a consumer and retail information provider.

While this is a slower growth rate than any of the five previous months, it is compared with January 2006 — a very strong month when the nation saw unseasonably mild temperatures.

According to The NPD Group, customer traffic to restaurants in January actually decreased slightly from the previous year, but an increase in average spending per person attributed to the 2% sales growth.

"Commercial food service weakness continues to trace to the industry’s core day parts of lunch and supper," said Michele Schmal, vice-president of The NPD Group’s CREST product management. "Neither matched the strong traffic registered in the mild January of 2006."

However, Ms. Schmal also said consumers are expanding the market for morning meals and evening snacks.

Overall, consumers spent $27.8 billion in the commercial food service market in January with 4.3 billion visits.

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