Retail sales measure consumer demand by calculating the total goods sold over a given period. Consumer demand is considered an indicator of an economy’s financial well-being and whether it is heading towards contraction or expansion. In the US consumer spending, or retail sales, account for 70% of GDP.
How are retail sales reported?
Retail sales are reported monthly by The US Bureau of The Census. The report includes total sales and the percentage change from both the previous month and year-over-year to ensure that seasonal fluctuations are considered. The sales figures are generally presented twice, with and without the inclusion of gas and auto sales because these goods are seen to fluctuate regularly and are not always indicative of a wild swing in consumer demand.