Retail Sales

Retail Sales
An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce. The report covers the previous month, and is released about two weeks after the month-end. Comparisons are made against historical data; year-over-year comparisons are the most-reported metric because they account for the seasonality of consumer-based retail.

The retail sales report captures in-store sales as well as catalog and other out-of-store sales. The report also breaks down sales figures into groups such as food and beverages, clothing, and autos. The results are often presented two ways: with and without auto sales being counted, because their high sticker price can add extra volatility to the data.

Retail sales figures are vital to stock investors as a whole, and especially to those who invest in retail companies directly. They are also are a big component of total gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States, so any extended drop-offs in retail spending can trigger a recession by lowering tax receipts and forcing companies to reduce head counts.

As far as broad economic indicators go, the retail sales report is one of the most timely, providing data that is only a few weeks old. Individual retail companies often give their own sales figures around the same time per month, and their stocks can be very volatile around this time as investors process the data.

Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • retail sales — The indicator of the level of retail demand in the United Kingdom. The higher the level of retail sales, the higher the level of demand for goods and the greater the likelihood that prices will rise as a result. Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein… …   Financial and business terms

  • Retail sales — (electric)   Sales made directly to the customer that consumes the energy product.   U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration s Energy Glossary …   Energy terms

  • Retail sales index — The retail sales index is a monthly measurement of all goods sold by retailers based on a sampling of retail stores of different types and sizes. The retail sales index is often taken as an indicator of consumer confidence.Released at 8:30 am EST …   Wikipedia

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  • Core Retail Sales — U.S. aggregate retail sales excluding automobile and gasoline sales, which are excluded due to their volatility. The figures are released monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce about two weeks after the end of the reference month. As consumer …   Investment dictionary

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  • sales growth — UK US noun [U] FINANCE, COMMERCE ► the increase in a company s sales over a particular period of time, usually given as a percentage: »achieve/expect/produce sales growth »There has been a slowdown in sales growth over the last few months.… …   Financial and business terms

  • sales turnover — UK US noun [C or U] ACCOUNTING, FINANCE, COMMERCE ► the total amount of money that a company receives from the sale of products or services in a particular period of time: »The company has seen a remarkable increase in its retail sales turnover …   Financial and business terms

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