Chain restaurant sales grew 4.6% between February 2004 and February 2005

The restaurant industry is enjoying more than a year and a half of positive growth according to NPD Group survey of more than 40,000 restaurant units. The latest sales figures show dollars at these restaurants opened over a year are up for the 86th week in a row. For the week ending February 21 same-store sales are up 4.6% from a year ago. The average increase in same-store sales over the 86 weeks is 4.4%. The upswing in sales comes off of weakness in the industry in 2002 and 2003, some of the most difficult years for restaurants in decades. NPD recorded 2 years in a row of no traffic growth. Then in July 2003, same-store sales for major restaurant chains turned positive and have been heading upward ever since.