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Malcolm Knapp released the estimates for August 2011 casual dining comparable restaurant sales and guest counts this morning.

Knapp Track casual dining same store sales increased a meager 0.1% in August.  On a weather-adjusted basis, comparable sales gained 0.7%, implying a 60 basis point impact from the effects of the hurricane during the last week of the month.  Comparable guest counts for August declined -1.5% after three months of traffic gains.

In a break from tradition, the full text report was preceded by a short email with the August estimates. We will publish the usual monthly post, with more specifics, when we receive the full Knapp Track report later on.  These initial numbers are significant, though, because they indicate significant sequential declines in two-year trends for both comparable sales and guest counts.  Even if one includes the weather adjustment, comparable sales came in light in August.

TXRH and BWLD are two casual dining names we like on the short side.

Howard Penney

Managing Director

Rory Green

Analyst