Restaurant index: Restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales in January, up for the 11th consecutive month. However, the extreme winter weather did take a toll on some restaurants, with only 45% reporting a gain between January 2013 and January 2014 while 40% reported a decline. In addition, a net decline in customer traffic was reported for the second month in a row. Nevertheless, restaurant operators are somewhat more optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead, according the National Restaurant Assn., with 41% expecting higher sales in six months versus the same period of the previous year. Meanwhile, 11% of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, while 48% expect their sales to remain about the same.
PEDV in N.D.: The first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in North Dakota was confirmed last week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Feb. 16 PEDV report showed 3,856 cases. North Dakota becomes the 26th state to report a confirmed case of the virus.
Russia lifts ban: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week that Russia has lifted its import ban on turkey meat from Jennie-O Turkey and Butterball LLC.