While the restaurant industry struggled with weak sales and traffic throughout 2016, it seems that December, in particular, had the worst same-store sales growth of the year.
According to Nomura-Instinet analyst Mark Kalinowski, December is slated to be the only month where the industry as a whole generated negative same-store sales growth. Kalinowski points to adverse weather as the largest factor in the sales decline, particularly during the second and third week of the month.
However, there still could be hope for restaurants' fourth-quarter sales.
"Given that November 2016 was the second-best month for U.S. chain restaurant same-store sales during 2016, the overall fourth-quarter numbers likely will look very similar to those of the (lackluster) second and third quarters," Kalinowski wrote in a research note Wednesday. "In other words, the solid November results should prevent Q4 as a whole from being a disaster, but the negative December data could hold back some chains from surpassing Street expectations for Q4's same-store sales."
The boost from November sales means that the fast-food burger segment will see same-store sales for the fourth quarter similar to that of the barely positive second and third quarter, according to Kalinowski.