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"It stands out as a bit unusual how soft restaurant spending has been considering where we are in the business cycle," said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at BofA Merrill Lynch. "The consumer should be spending more on a broad range of items. But we've seen restaurants slowing more akin to a recessionary environment."
Restaurant sales are a component of monthly retail sales data. The BofA economists expect retail sales, based on aggregated Bank of America credit card and debit card data, grew 0.2 percent in October excluding autos, or 0.4 percent when excluding autos and gasoline. Restaurant spending has been on a decelerating trend but it's still positive."