National Retail Sales Data
If you have a point-of-sale system in your business, or if you need one, you are probably a business or in an industry that is tracked for the national retail sales report, which is released to the public every month by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The retail sales number is an economic indicator that is watched very closely by interested investors as well as the media, because it seems to be a recent snapshot of the overall health the economy. Consumer spending is estimated to account for about 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S. It is generally seen that, if retail sales are positive, that means the economy is going well; if it’s not, it usually signals a recession.
Oftentimes, inflation projections, interest-rate hike threats and stock market losses can hinge on the results of the retail sales numbers, simply because all of those items are based on the health of the economy. How accurate this number is can be tough to judge; it only accounts for sales of physical products like cars, televisions, food and gasoline. It does not take into account the service industries, which is the growing aspect of the U.S. economy.
The retail estimate in June 2014 was released a few days ago and it listed a gross sales number of $393 billion, which is a 0.2 percent increase over May and is the highest number in at least the last four years. However, the estimate is even better when car and gas sales are removed; the number is an increase of 0.6 percent.
When one looks at a chart of reports data, one will see that if retail sales mean anything, they mean the U.S. seems to be getting healthier as an economy, as the trend has been positive for the last four years, when the retail report was $315 billion in June 2010.
What has been your trend in your particular business, or in your local industry? Have things been improving for you the last four years? Let us know – we’re always interested in hearing from street view what is going on, instead of relying on a 30,000-foot view of the entire country!