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Monthly & Annual Retail Trade

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What is a sample revision and why is it necessary?

A sample revision is the process used to re-design and re-select the samples for many of the Census Bureau’s surveys of the retail, wholesale, and service industries. This process is performed to:

  • ensure each sample is representative of its target population
  • improve the efficiency of each sample
  • incorporate updates to the industry classification structure
  • expand industry coverage of the survey
  • update questions and instructions to obtain more accurate data
  • redistribute burden for small and medium size businesses

The current Annual Retail Trade Survey sample was introduced in March 2013 with the release of estimates for reference year 2011.

How often is a sample revision performed for the Annual Retail Trade Survey?

Sample revisions are performed approximately every 5 to 7 years. During the period for which the samples are used, updates are made on a quarterly basis to reflect changes in the business universe. These updates are designed to account for new businesses (births) and businesses which discontinue operations (deaths). The samples are also updated to reflect mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, splits, and other changes to the business universe.

When will estimates from the new Annual Retail Trade Survey sample be released?

Annual Retail Trade Survey estimates will be based on the new sample effective with the release of 2011 estimates on March 29, 2013.

What is the size of the Annual Retail Trade Survey sample?

The size of the new and current Annual Retail Trade Survey samples are approximately 22,000 employer firms.

Are the estimates from different Annual Retail Trade Survey samples comparable?

Yes. Estimates from different samples have been put on a comparable basis.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Monthly & Annual Retail Trade | (301) 763-2713 or (301) 763-2747 |  Last Revised: March 11, 2015