|Unit||Mil. USD, CDASA|
|Adjustments||Calendar Adjusted and Seasonally Adjusted|
Retail sales include merchandise sold (for cash or credit at retail or wholesale) by establishments primarily engaged in retail trade. Services that are incidental to the sale of merchandise and excise taxes that are paid by the manufacturer or wholesaler and passed along to the retailer are also included. Sales are net after deductions for refunds and allowances for merchandise returned by customers. Consumer spending on services are excluded with two exceptions: First, restaurant sales are included. Second, services that are incidental to the sale of merchandise are included. Excise taxes that are paid by the manufacturer or wholesaler and passed along to the retailer, are also included. Sales are net deductions for refunds and allowances for merchandise returned by customers. Sales exclude sales taxes collected directly from the customer and paid directly to local, state or federal tax agencies. The monthly retail trade estimates are developed from samples representing all sizes of firms and kinds of businesses in retail trade throughout the nation. This survey is composed of a sample selected from the retail employers who made FICA payments. It is not uncommon for there to be a gap between unit auto sales and retail sales at automobile dealers. The reason for the discrepancy is retail sales includes some items not counted in unit sales, including used cars, boats, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, parts and repairs. Both retail and unit auto sales include fleet vehicle sales.
The estimates of sales measure the operations receipts rendered by stores that primarily sell at retail. The sales estimates represent total sales and receipts of all establishments primarily engaged in retail trade. They do not include sales at retail by manufacturers, wholesalers, service establishments, and others whose primary activity is other than retail trade. Since the retail establishment is the basic unit of measure, the published estimates of sales by type of retail store are not intended to measure the total sales for a given commodity or merchandise line.
For the U.S., estimates of retail sales and inventories, by "kind of store" under NAICS. Monthly.
Sales include merchandise sold (for cash or credit at retail or wholesale) by establishments primarily engaged in retail trade. Services that are incidental to the sale of merchandise, and excise taxes that are paid by the manufacturer or wholesaler and passed along to the retailer, are also included. Sales are net after deductions for refunds and allowances for merchandise returned by customers. Sales exclude sales taxes collected directly from customer and paid directly to a local, state, or federal tax agency.
The U.S. Census Bureau measures retail activities using a suite of five surveys:
A mail-out/mail-back survey of about 12,000 retail businesses with paid employees selected for sales, including about 4,000 businesses also selected for inventories; supplemented by estimates for nonemployers, new employers, and missed employers obtained from benchmarking to the Annual Retail Trade Survey. The sample of retail firms is drawn from the Business Register which contains all Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) and listed establishment locations. Sales and inventories data are collected using one combined survey form. Firms selected for the retail sales survey are first stratified by major kind of business and estimated sales. All firms with sales above applicable size cutoffs are selected into the survey and report for all their retail industry EINs. In a second stage, unselected EINs are stratified by major kind of business and sales, and randomly selected from each strata. Approximately 3,000 of the 12,000 are selected with certainty. Some firms are also selected for inventories by stratifying most firms in the larger sales sample by kind of business and sales sizes. Approximately 1,000 of the 4,000 are selected with certainty. The sample is updated quarterly to reflect employer business "births" and "deaths"; adding new employer businesses identified in the Business and Professional Classification Survey and dropping firms and EINs when it is determined they are no longer active. There is about a 9 month delay before new firms can be represented in the sample.
Estimates are adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. Cumulative seasonally adjusted sales estimates are not tabulated.
Estimates are not adjusted for price changes (i.e., they are not inflation-adjusted or "real"). Retail and food services total and other subsector totals may include data for kinds of business not shown.
|Response rate (%)||Companies||Quantity||Companies||Quantity|
There are several reasons for revisions. The main contributors to the revision from the previously published estimates are:
GAFO (series (X)RTGAF.IUSA) represents stores classified in the following NAICS codes: 442, 443, 448, 451, 452, and 4532. NAICS code 4532 includes office supplies, stationery, and gift stores.
Category "department stores" (series (X)RT4521.IUSA) includes data for leased departments ("L.D.") operated within department stores. Data for this line not included in any aggregate kind-of-business totals.
With the introduction of a new sample with estimates for the September 2006 data month, Census identified a change in the seasonal pattern for estimates in Men's clothing stores (NAICS 44811). Consequently, they "temporarily" (at least through June 2010) suspended the release of seasonally adjusted estimates (RT44811.IUSA) for this industry. Because of the seasonal adjustment methodology, they also suppressed from publication all estimates back through the January 2001 data month for this industry. They continued to provide NSA estimates (XRT44811.IUSA), but advise they be used with caution, as the new sample estimates may not be comparable with estimates from the old sample.
On 14 January 2015, we changed the metadata unit-descriptor from "SA" to "CDASA" because the series are dual-adjusted: "adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences" where the latter can be standardized to "calendar-day adjusted" (CDA). (Sales and inventory/sale ratios are CDASA, but inventory figures are SA only.)
Results under 4411 (motor vehicle sales) include leasing. The survey is organized by "companies whose main operation is sales", and dealerships are instructed to count all sales including financing options; leases are valued at the full value of the vehicle. (Clarified with BOC in January 2020.)
On the Census website: