Industry watcher firm NPD Group's latest Fast Casual Report concludes that fast casual restaurants are still seeing solid increases in units, traffic and dollars, although some of these numbers have begun to soften. "For the year ending September 2004 vs. the same time a year earlier, traffic was up seven percent (it was six percent the year before). However, traffic for the combined group of chains was a bit soft on a per store basis," NPD notes. "Consumer spending was up ten percent for ...

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