Unconfirmed indicators about sales in the casual-dining sector portray January results as glum, with same-store volumes falling 1.9 percent, versus year-earlier results for that month, when comparable-restaurant volumes rose 5.5 percent over January 2005’s same-store average for casual players.Though market forces—especially the “trading-down” effect on budget-conscious consumers—recently have restrained the dinnerhouse industry overall, the estimated January decline is made no more ...

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