In the fierce battle to attract diners, restaurants like Applebee's and Chili's have a new weapon that's proving successful.» Read More
The pattern is now very clear: companies that have significant exposure to the U.S. consumer market are having problems. Whether it is Coach (lowered guidance), IHOP (drop in guest traffic), Brinker (ditto), or Whirlpool (lower overall sales). These companies are 1) seeing slower business in the U.S. market and 2) get a significant part of their sales in the U.S.
Companies ranging from pancake house chain IHOP to high-priced handbag seller Coach reported signs of the continuing U.S. consumer pullback, sending retail and some restaurant stocks lower.
In a sign of the growing influence that restaurants have on how and where consumers spend their money, a major retail trade group has included for the first time six restaurant companies on its list of the top 100 retailers, released on Friday.
Brinker International said on Wednesday that sales at restaurants open at least 18 months fell 4.9% for the four weeks ended Feb. 28, hurt in part by unfavorable weather.
Consumers don’t seem to have the same appetite for casual dining that they had earlier in the year.