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Manufacturing & Trade Inventories & Sales

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Definitions

  • Accounts Receivable Balances (Retail) - Retail accounts receivable are amounts owed to retail stores by their customers for purchases made on credit. The estimate in this publication refer to receivables outstanding as of December 31, including receivables against which the firm has borrowed. However, credit paper discounted or sold to others and amounts actually written off as bad debts are excluded. Also excluded are amounts charged on credit cards issued by oil companies, banks, and other organizations that issue credit cards. Charge accounts are credit accounts for which full payment is scheduled to be made at the end of the customary billing period. Installment accounts are classified as open-end or closed-end.
    • Open-end installment accounts are primarily revolving or optional accounts. A deferred payment privilege is extended through a line of credit, and the customer has the option of paying the balance in full or paying in two or more installments. The payments are subject to a minimum required payment with a finance charge usually assessed.
    • Closed-end installment accounts are those generally requiring a new contract to cover each extension of credit. A precomputed finance charge is assessed at the time credit is extended. Specified fixed schedules of installment payments are established with the number, the amount of payments, and the due dates specified in the contract.
  • Adjustment Factors - The X-12 ARIMA program was used to derive the factors for adjusting estimates for seasonal variations and, in the case of sales, for trading-day and holiday differences. Non-adjusted sales and inventory estimates for January 1992 forward (if an advance sales estimate was computed) were input to this program.

    Seasonal adjustment of estimates is an approximation based on current and past experiences. Therefore, the adjustment could become less precise because of changes in economic conditions and other elements that introduce significant changes in seasonal, trading-day, or holiday patterns.
  • Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey (Retail) - The Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services provides early estimates of monthly sales for companies in the retail trade and food services sectors. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for voluntary responses. This survey covers retail companies with one or more establishments that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. These firms provide data on dollar value of retail sales for selected establishments.
  • Agents and Brokers - Persons or organizations that act as a representative for others in negotiating contracts, purchases, or sales. Agents and brokers typically earn a commission or fee for their services and do not take possession of, or title to, any goods.
  • Annual Retail Trade Survey (Retail) - A mandatory annual survey which collects sales, inventory, purchases, accounts receivable, and expenses data from firms primarily engaged in retail trade.
  • Annual Survey of Manufacturers (Manufacturing) - An annual survey which collects employment, payroll, worker hours, payroll supplements, cost of materials, selected operating expenses, value added by manufacturing, capital expenditures, inventories, and energy consumption from firms engaged in manufacturing.
  • Annual Wholesale Trade Survey (Wholesale) - A mandatory annual survey which collects sales and inventory data from the major components of wholesale trade: Agents and Brokers, Distributors, Manufacturer's Sales Branches and Offices (see "MSBOs"), Importers and Exporters.
  • ARTS (Retail) - See 'Annual Retail Trade Survey'.
  • ASM (Manufacturing) - See 'Annual Survey of Manufacturers'.
  • AWTS (Wholesale) - See 'Annual Wholesale Trade Survey'
  • Bonded Warehouses (Manufacturing) - Warehouses that are authorized by the United States Customs for storage or manufacturing of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed into Customs Territory. These goods are not subject to duties if reshipped to foreign points.
  • Calendar Month Reporter - A firm that closes their books on the last day of each month, or on the same date each month (e.g., the 28th).
  • Confidentiality - Title 13 of the United States Code authorizes the Census Bureau to conduct censuses and surveys. Section 9 of the same Title requires that any information collected from the public under the authority of Title 13 be maintained as confidential. Section 214 of Title 13 and Sections 3559 and 3571 of Title 18 of the United States Code provide for the imposition of penalties of up to 5 years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines for wrongful disclosure of confidential census information. In accordance with Title 13, no estimates are published that would disclose the operations of an individual firm.

    The Census Bureau's Internal Disclosure Review board sets the confidentiality rules for all data releases. A checklist approach is used to ensure that all potential risks to the confidentiality of the data are considered and addressed.
  • Cost of Goods Available for Sale and Cost of Goods Sold - To calculate the cost of goods available for sale, the purchases made during the year were added to the preceding year's end-of-year inventories. To calculate the cost of goods sold, the end of the current year's value of inventories were deducted from the cost of goods available for sale.
  • Data Month - The month for which data are being requested.
  • Disclosure Limitation - A disclosure of data occurs when an individual can use published statistical information to identify either an individual or firm that has provided information under a pledge of confidentiality. Disclosure limitation is the process used to protect the confidentiality of the survey data provided by an individual or firm. Using disclosure limitation procedures, the Census Bureau modifies or removes the characteristics that put confidential information at risk for disclosure. Although it may appear that a table shows information about a specific individual or business, the Census Bureau has taken steps to disguise or suppress the original data, while making sure the results are still useful. The techniques used by the Census Bureau to protect confidentiality in tabulations vary, depending on the type of data.
  • Distributor (Wholesale) - A wholesaler that buys and owns (takes title to) products prior to reselling them to its customers.
  • Dollar Values - All dollar values presented are expressed in current dollars; that is, the estimates are not adjusted to a constant dollar series. Consequently, when comparing estimates to prior years, users also should consider price level changes.
  • Drop Ship (Retail) - When a manufacturer drops a shipment off at a customer's site, although a retailer makes the sale.
  • E-Commerce - The sale of goods and services where the buyer places an order, or the price and terms of the sale are negotiated over an Electronic Data Interchange, the Internet, or any other online system (extranet, e-mail, instant messaging). Payment may or may not be made online.
  • EDI - See 'Electronic Data Interchange'
  • EIN - See 'Employer Identification Number'.
  • Electronic Data Interchange - The exchange of documents in standardized electronic form between parties in an automated manner directly from one party's computer system to an application in another.
  • Employer Identification Number - A nine-digit number used by the Internal Revenue Service for any legal entity that is required to file a federal tax return.
  • Establishment - A single physical location where business is conducted, or where services are performed.
  • Expenses - Total operating expenses, including payroll, arising from the normal course of business, excluding purchases.
  • Firm - A business organization or entity consisting of one or more domestic establishment locations under common ownership or control.
  • Foreign Trade Zones - Enclosed areas, operated as public utilities, under control of United States Customs with facilities for handling, storing, manipulating, manufacturing, and exhibiting goods. The merchandise may be exported, destroyed, or sent into Customs Territory from the zone in the original package or otherwise. It is subject to Customs duties if sent into Customs Territory, but not if reshipped to foreign points.
  • GAFO (Retail) - GAFO represents sales at stores that sell merchandise normally sold in department stores. GAFO includes the following kinds of retail businesses:
    • General merchandise stores (NAICS 452).
    • Clothing and clothing accessories stores (NAICS 448).
    • Furniture and home furnishings stores (NAICS 442).
    • Electronics and appliance stores (NAICS 443).
    • Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (NAICS 451).
    • Office supplies, stationery, and gift stores (NAICS 4532).
  • Gross Margin - The measure of gross margin represents total sales less cost of goods sold.
  • Imports - Commodities of foreign origin or domestically produced goods that are returned to the United States with no change in condition or after having been processed and/or assembled in other countries.
  • Imputation - The process used to tabulate data for non-response cases.
  • Inventories (Manufacturing) - Total inventories represent the value of the end-of-month stocks regardless of stage of fabrication (whether in the form of purchased materials and supplies, work in process, or finished goods). These inventories are valued at cost using any valuation method other than LIFO. Inventories associated with the non-manufacturing activities of your company are excluded.
  • Inventories (Retail) - Merchandise inventories are the value of stocks of goods held for sale. The inventories estimates represent the value, at cost, of the merchandise available for sale as of the last day of the report period. Methods of valuation may vary according to the accounting practices of each firm. The estimates provided in this report are valued on a non-LIFO (last in, first out) basis. Note — LIFO is a method of valuing inventory where the latest items of merchandise added to the inventory are the first ones taken out. Non-LIFO would mean that another method, such as FIFO (first in, first out), was used to establish the value of the inventory available for sale. Merchandise inventories are shown for stores and warehouses servicing retail establishments. Included are only those warehouses that maintained supplies of merchandise primarily intended for distribution within the organization.
  • Inventories / Sales Ratios (Retail) - The inventories / sales ratios show the relationship of the end-of-month values of inventory to the monthly sales. These ratios can be looked at as indications of the number of months of inventory that are on hand in relation to the sales for a month. For example, a ratio of 2.5 would indicate that the retail stores have enough merchandise on hand to cover two and a half months of sales.
  • KB - See 'Kind of Business'.
  • Kind of Business - The principal kind of business being conducted at an establishment.
  • Leased Department (Retail) - Leased departments are broadly defined as operations of one company conducted within the establishment of another company. Typical examples may include jewelry counters or optical centers within department stores.
  • Manufacturers (Manufacturing) - Establishments in the manufacturing sector are often described as plants, factories, or mills, and characteristically use power-driven machines and material-handling equipment. Manufacturing establishments may process materials, or may contract with other establishments to process their materials for them. Both types of establishments are included in manufacturing.
  • Manufacturers' Sales Branches and Offices (Manufacturing) - Establishments maintained by manufacturing, refining, or mining enterprises apart from their plants or mines for the purpose of marketing their products. Sales branches will typically carry inventories, while sales offices typically do not.
  • MARTS (Retail) - See 'Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey'
  • Monthly Retail Trade Survey (Retail) - The Monthly Retail Trade Survey provides current estimates of sales at retail and food services stores and inventories held by retail stores. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for voluntary responses. This survey covers retail companies with one or more establishments that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Retail firms provide data on dollar value of retail sales and sales for selected establishments; some firms also provide data on value of end-of-month inventories.
  • Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey (Wholesale) - A voluntary monthly survey which collects sales and inventories data for distributors.
  • MRTS (Retail) - See 'Monthly Retail Trade Survey'.
  • MSBOs (Manufacturing) - See 'Manufacturers' Sales Branches and Offices'
  • Multi-unit Firms - Firms with two or more establishments.
  • MWTS (Wholesale) - See 'Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey'
  • Non-Merchant Wholesalers (Wholesale) - Wholesalers that are defined as Agents and Brokers.
  • Nonsampling Error - The nonsampling error of an estimate based on a sample survey encompasses all factors other than sampling error that contribute to the total error of the estimate. This error may also be present in censuses and may be attributed to many sources: inability to obtain information on all units in the sample; response errors; differences in the interpretation of the questions; mistakes in coding or keying the data obtained; and other errors of collection, response, coverage, and processing. Although no direct measurement of the potential biases due to nonsampling error was obtained, precautionary steps were taken in all phases of the collection, processing, and tabulation of the data in an effort to minimize their influence. The Census Bureau recommends that individuals using retail estimates incorporate this information into their analyses, as nonsampling error could affect the conclusions drawn from the estimates.
  • Previous Month - The month that precedes the data month.
  • Privacy Act - A 1974 Federal Act that protects the privacy of personal information that the government has on file. The act places restrictions on the collection, use, maintenance, and release of information about individuals.
  • Purchases - Total cost of all merchandise purchased for resale to customers net of returns, allowances, and trade and cash discounts.
  • Retailer (Retail) - Business that sell goods in small quantities directly to consumers.
  • Sales (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, of refunds and allowances for merchandise returned by customers. Sales exclude sales taxes collected directly from customers and paid directly to a local, state, or federal tax agency.

    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. Because 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.
  • Sample - All firms selected for a specific survey.
  • Sampling Error - The sampling error of an estimate based on a sample survey is the difference between the estimate and the result that would be obtained from a complete census conducted under the same survey conditions. This error occurs because characteristics differ among sampling units in the population and only a subset of the population is measured in a sample survey. The particular sample used in this survey is one of a large number of samples of the same size that could have been selected using the same design. Because each unit in the sampling frame had a known probability of being selected into the sample, it was possible to estimate the sampling variability of the survey estimates. The Census Bureau recommends that individuals using retail estimates incorporate this information into their analyses, as sampling error could affect the conclusions drawn from the estimates.
  • Shipments (Manufacturing) - Manufacturers' shipments measure the dollar value of products sold by manufacturing establishments and are based on net selling values, f.o.b. (free on board) plant, after discounts and allowances are excluded. Freight charges and excise taxes are excluded. Where the products of an industry are customarily delivered to distributors or consumers by the manufacturing establishment (such as in certain foods industries — fluid milk, bakery, soft drinks), the value is based on delivered price rather than f.o.b. plant price. Multi-industry companies report value information for each industry category as if it were a separate economic unit. Thus, products transferred from one plant to another are valued at their full economic value.
  • Title 13 - Title 13 is the legal authority for the Census Bureau's programs. The Census Bureau's authority is founded on the United States Constitution and Title 13. The data collected by the Census Bureau, the leading source of quality data about the nation's economy and people, provide for the foundation on which our democratic system of government is based. To fulfill its mission, the Census Bureau must collect quality data and distribute it in a way that preserves usefulness while protecting privacy and confidentiality.
  • Title 26 - Title 26 Internal Revenue Code provides for the conditions under which the Internal Revenue Service may disclose Federal Tax Returns and Return Information (FTI) to other agencies. Specifically, 26, U.S.C. 6103 (j) (1) provides for the disclosure of FTI to the Census Bureau for statistical purposes in the structuring of censuses and national economic accounts, as well as for conducting related statistical activities authorized by law.
  • Total Error Statement - The total error of an estimate based on a sample survey is the difference between the estimate and the true population value that it estimates. The true population value is usually unknown.
  • Trade Area - The broad band of business groupings - retail trade, wholesale trade, and service industries.
  • Unpublished Estimates - Additional statistics, such as dollar volume estimates for some kinds of business not separately shown in this report, are produced as a by-product of the regularly published statistics. These additional estimates have not been included in this publication because of high sampling variability, poor response, or other factors that may make them potentially misleading. It should be noted that some unpublished estimates can be derived directly from this report by subtracting published estimates from their respective totals. However, the estimates obtained by such subtraction would be subject to the poor response rates or high sampling variability described previously for unpublished kinds of business.

    Individuals who use estimates in this report to create new estimates should cite the Census Bureau as the source of only the original estimates.
  • Weight - The weight indicates the approximate number of firms in the survey's universe represented by the selected firm. For example, an EIN selected with a weight of 21.000 represents itself and 20 similar businesses (in terms of KB and size) in the survey's universe.
  • Wholesaler (Wholesale) - A business that sells to retailers, contrators, or other types of businesses (including farms), but not to the general public (or at least not in any significant amount).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Manufacturing & Trade Inventories & Sales | (301) 763-2713 |  Last Revised: January 17, 2012