NPD: Restaurant count slips for first time in 8 years

PORT WASHINGTON N.Y. The number of total restaurant locations in 2008 contracted from the year earlier by 0.1 percent, driven by closures of independent restaurants and units within smaller chains, according to new data from The NPD Group, a market research firm.

For the first time since 2000, the number of U.S. restaurants in the September-ended fiscal year fell from the year earlier, led by drops in the family-dining and fine-dining segments. Typically, the

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