REAL ESTATE

NPD: U.S. restaurant count up slightly over last year

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — The U.S. restaurant count increased by less than 1% from a year ago, reaching a total of 633,043 units, according to a recent restaurant census conducted by The NPD Group. Restaurant units increased by 4,179, or 0.7% over last year, based on NPD’s Fall 2013 ReCount, which is a count of commercial restaurant locations in the United States compiled in the spring and fall each year.

Restaurant chains grew counts by 1% to a total of 281,613 units, an increase of 3,171 over last year, according to the report, which includes restaurants open as of September 30, 2013.

The independent restaurant count stood at 351,430, up 1,008 units, compared to the year ago census.

Quick-service restaurant s grew units to 333,970, up 2%, and unit counts for full-service restaurants, which include casual dining, midscale/family dining, and fine dining, declined by 1% to 299,073 units.

Fast casual, which is a restaurant category under the quick-service segment, increased units by 902 for a total of 16,215 in the most recent NPD restaurant census, up 6% from the Fall 2012 ReCount.

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FINANCE

NRF: Tax reform proposal would boost economy

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation welcomed a proposal to reform the nation’s tax structure announced Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., saying it would strengthen the economy and jobs.

“This plan would give our nation the simpler, fairer tax system that we desperately need, but it’s about far more than just tax reform,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This is the foundation for job creation, increased take-home pay and business growth that would restore the prosperity that has slipped away for far too many American families.”

“This is good for the economy, and what’s good for the economy is good for retail,” Shay said. “Consumers with money in their pockets buy more, and the products they buy mean even more jobs, not just in stores but in virtually every sector as the ripple effect spreads out. Moves like this – not government-ordered wage hikes and other mandates that erect barriers to job creation – are the way to get America back on track,” Shay said.

Legislation proposed by Camp would lower the current top corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% in return for eliminating a wide range of tax deductions and credits.

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the proposal would boost GDP by $3.4 trillion over 10 years, create 1.8 million jobs, boost the median take-home income of a family of four by $1,300 annually and result in a 2.1% increase in consumer spending. By contrast, a Congressional Budget Office report found that increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current $7.25 would cost the nation 500,000 jobs.

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News

Changes in Bed Bath & Beyond’s executive leadership team

BY CSA STAFF

Bed Bath & Beyond has promoted Eugene A. Castagna, previously CFO and treasurer, to the role of chief operating officer. Susan E. Lattmann, formerly VP of finance, will fill the CFO and treasurer spot.

Castagna has been with the company since November 1994 and has served as CFO and Treasurer since 2006. Previously, he served as assistant treasurer from 2002 to 2006 and as VP of finance from 2000 to 2006. In addition, his duties have included several key operational functions, including primary responsibility for the company’s integration and growth of its baby product business since the acquisition of buybuy BABY in 2007, and helping lead the integration efforts following the 2012 acquisition of Cost Plus World Market.

Lattmann has been with the company since August 1996. She has been VP of finance since 2006, and previously served as VP and controller from 2001 to 2006 and as controller from 2000 to 2001. Prior to joining the company, Lattmann, a certified public accountant, spent six years with the firm of Arthur Andersen.

"These promotions further strengthen our deep and experienced management team as we execute our long-term strategic plans,” said CEO Steven Temares. “Throughout the last several years, Gene’s role has expanded beyond his financial responsibilities to include several key operational and planning areas, and Sue has made valuable contributions to all aspects of our financial and strategic processes. Today’s announcement has positioned both Gene and Sue to assume even greater roles in helping lead and organize our company for continued growth and success."

The company also announced the extension of its employment agreements with its co-chairmen Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein for a period of three years, to Feb. 25, 2017.

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