U.S. Census Bureau News banner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2005, AT 8:30 A.M. EST


Scott Scheleur / Judy Ross Davis                                                                                                                                                                                                CB05-62
Service Sector Statistics Division
(301) 763-2713

ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL TRADE AND FOOD SERVICES

APRIL 2005

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $344.9 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent (0.7%) from the previous month and up 8.6 percent (0.8%) from April 2004. Total sales for the February through April 2005 period were up 7.5 percent (0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The February to March 2005 percent change was revised from +0.3 percent (0.7%)* to +0.4 percent (0.3%).

Retail trade sales were up 1.4 percent (0.7%) from March and were 8.7 percent (1.0%) above last year. Gasoline station sales were up 19.8 percent (3.1%) from April 2004 and sales of nonstore retailers were up 12.4 percent (3.5%) from last year.

The advance estimates are based on a subsample of the Census Bureau's full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is used to select approximately 5,000 retail and food services firms whose sales are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of over three million retail and food services firms. Responding firms account for approximately 65% of the MARTS dollar volume estimate. For an explanation of the measures of sampling variability included in this report, please see the Reliability of Estimates section on the last page of this publication.

Percent Change in Retail and Food Services Sales

(Estimates adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday, and trading-day differences, but not for price changes)

   Month to month percent change   


The Advance Monthly Retail Sales Report for May is scheduled to be released June 14, 2005 at 8:30 a.m.

For information, visit the Census Bureau's Web site at <http://www.census.gov/retail>. This report is also available the day of issue through the Department of Commerce's STAT-USA (202-482-1986).

* The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. The Census Bureau does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different than zero.



TABLE 1A. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES, BY KIND OF BUSINESS--April 2005

Data adjusted for seasonal variations, holiday, and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. (Total sales estimates are shown in millions of dollars and are based on data from the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey, Monthly Retail Trade Survey, and administrative records.)(2) (In Millions of dollars) 2005 2005 2005 2004 2004 NAICS(1) Kind of Business Apr(3) Mar Feb Apr Mar Code (a) (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food services, total.................... 344,895 340,179 338,991 317,706 320,815 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts)............ 266,803 263,984 263,382 246,725 247,227 Retail ....................................... 311,615 307,196 305,757 286,573 289,651 GAFO(4).......................................... (*) 86,800 87,437 82,768 83,698 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... 78,092 76,195 75,609 70,981 73,588 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers................. 72,067 70,304 69,613 65,485 67,954 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. 8,846 8,841 8,863 8,582 8,646 443 Electronics & appliance stores.................... 8,251 8,261 8,295 7,835 7,750 44311,13 Appl., T.V. & camera........................... (*) 6,704 6,754 6,290 6,227 44312 Computer & software stores...................... (*) 1,557 1,541 1,545 1,523 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers 27,127 26,801 26,306 25,248 25,417 4441 Building mat. & supplies dealers................ (*) 23,910 23,262 22,292 22,450 445 Food & beverage stores........................... 43,066 42,747 42,734 40,936 40,852 4451 Grocery stores.................................. 38,571 38,324 38,291 36,794 36,743 4453 Beer, wine & liquor stores...................... (*) 2,763 2,794 2,640 2,600 446 Health & personal care stores.................... 17,968 17,840 17,820 16,923 17,043 44611 Pharmacies & drug stores........................ (*) 15,259 15,200 14,512 14,558 447 Gasoline stations................................ 30,407 29,850 29,211 25,371 25,193 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... 16,722 16,265 16,636 15,500 16,003 44811 Men's clothing stores........................... (*) 842 838 761 771 44812 Women's clothing stores......................... (*) 2,986 3,023 2,833 2,946 4482 Shoe stores..................................... (*) 1,932 2,066 1,984 2,058 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores....... 6,723 6,746 6,717 6,581 6,606 452 General merchandise stores....................... 44,060 43,396 43,692 41,027 41,462 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... 18,066 17,832 18,190 17,784 18,186 4521 Department stores (incl. L.D.)(5)............... (*) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 4529 Other general merchandise stores................ (*) 25,564 25,502 23,243 23,276 45291 Warehouse clubs & superstores.................. (*) 22,211 22,070 19,995 19,896 45299 All other gen. merchandise stores.............. (*) 3,353 3,432 3,248 3,380 453 Miscellaneous store retailers.................... 9,354 9,342 9,326 8,899 8,776 454 Nonstore retailers............................... 20,999 20,912 20,548 18,690 18,315 4541 Electronic shopping & mail-order houses......... (*) 13,024 12,951 12,055 11,975 722 Food services & drinking places.................. 33,280 32,983 33,234 31,133 31,164 (*) Advance estimates are not available for this kind of business. (NA) Not available (a) Advance estimate (p) Preliminary estimate (r) Revised estimate (1) For a full description of the NAICS codes used in this table, see http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html (2) Estimates are concurrently adjusted for seasonal variation and for holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes. Concurrent seasonal adjustment uses all available unadjusted estimates as input to the X-12 ARIMA program. The factors derived from the program are used in calculating all seasonally adjusted estimates shown in this table. Year-to-date seasonally adjusted sales estimates are not tabulated. Adjustment factors and explanatory material can be found on the Internet at http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html (3) Advance estimates are based on early reports obtained from a small sample of firms selected from the larger Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS) sample. All other estimates are from the MRTS sample. (4) GAFO represents firms which specialize in department store types of merchandise and is comprised of furniture & home furnishings (442), electronics & appliances (443), clothing & accessories(448), sporting goods, hobby, book, and music (451), general merchandise(452), office supply, stationery, and gift stores(4532). (5) Estimates include data for leased departments operated within department stores. Data for this line are not included in broader kind-of-business totals.

TABLE 1B. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES, BY KIND OF BUSINESS--April 2005

Data not adjusted for seasonal variations, holiday, trading-day differences, and price changes. (In Millions of dollars and Annual Percent Change) 4 month total % Chg. 2005 2005 2005 2004 2004 NAICS(1) Kind of Business 2005 from Apr(2) Mar Feb Apr Mar Code 2004 (a) (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food services, total.................... 1,288,513 6.5 341,863 346,355 301,281 318,847 322,390 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts)............ 992,602 6.9 261,153 263,432 232,531 244,520 242,659 Retail ....................................... 1,160,426 6.5 308,117 312,877 270,872 287,527 290,883 GAFO(3).......................................... (*) (*) (*) 83,055 75,107 77,586 78,102 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... 295,911 4.9 80,710 82,923 68,750 74,327 79,731 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers................. 272,850 4.8 74,589 76,702 63,348 68,628 73,866 44111 New car dealers................................ (*) (*) (*) 62,660 52,020 56,855 61,897 4413 Auto parts, acc. & tire stores.................. (*) (*) (*) 6,221 5,402 5,699 5,865 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. 32,837 2.8 8,289 8,753 7,932 8,024 8,551 4421 Furniture stores................................ (*) (*) (*) 4,896 4,605 4,390 4,724 4422 Home furnishings stores......................... (*) (*) (*) 3,857 3,327 3,634 3,827 443 Electronics & appliance stores.................... 29,807 5.5 7,055 7,786 7,425 6,688 7,283 44311,13 Appl., T.V. & camera........................... (*) (*) (*) 6,148 6,018 5,284 5,704 44312 Computer & software stores...................... (*) (*) (*) 1,638 1,407 1,404 1,579 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers 98,145 8.1 30,099 26,762 20,644 28,715 25,339 4441 Building mat. & supplies dealers................ (*) (*) (*) 23,695 18,796 23,696 22,203 445 Food & beverage stores........................... 165,234 4.2 41,861 43,298 38,659 40,404 40,111 4451 Grocery stores.................................. 149,297 4.0 37,568 39,052 34,883 36,352 36,339 4453 Beer, wine & liquor stores...................... (*) (*) (*) 2,561 2,333 2,529 2,376 446 Health & personal care stores.................... 70,786 5.1 17,788 18,607 16,965 17,008 17,605 44611 Pharmacies & drug stores........................ (*) (*) (*) 15,900 14,501 14,541 14,966 447 Gasoline stations................................ 112,043 16.9 31,015 29,880 25,355 25,828 25,243 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... 57,446 4.7 15,677 15,775 13,904 15,032 14,728 44811 Men's clothing stores........................... (*) (*) (*) 792 651 736 692 44812 Women's clothing stores......................... (*) (*) (*) 3,090 2,461 3,051 2,943 44814 Family clothing stores.......................... (*) (*) (*) 5,975 4,802 5,469 5,468 4482 Shoe stores..................................... (*) (*) (*) 2,019 1,797 2,139 1,992 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores....... 23,461 0.4 5,849 6,058 5,340 5,673 5,939 452 General merchandise stores....................... 157,119 5.7 41,370 41,611 37,515 39,274 38,621 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... 62,257 -0.3 16,612 16,561 14,915 16,713 16,470 4521 Department stores (incl. L.D.)(4)............... (*) (*) (*) 16,724 15,071 16,934 16,689 4529 Other general merchandise stores................ (*) (*) (*) 25,050 22,600 22,561 22,151 45291 Warehouse clubs & superstores.................. (*) (*) (*) 21,767 19,686 19,355 18,981 45299 All other gen. merchandise stores.............. (*) (*) (*) 3,283 2,914 3,206 3,170 453 Miscellaneous store retailers.................... 34,625 4.7 8,818 9,089 8,462 8,533 8,418 454 Nonstore retailers............................... 83,012 10.8 19,586 22,335 19,921 18,021 19,314 4541 Electronic shopping & mail-order houses......... (*) (*) (*) 13,245 11,591 11,669 12,107 722 Food services & drinking places.................. 128,087 6.1 33,746 33,478 30,409 31,320 31,507 (*) Advance estimates are not available for this kind of business. (NA) Not available (a) Advance estimate (p) Preliminary estimate (r) Revised estimate (1) For a full description of the NAICS codes used in this table, see http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html (2) Advance estimates are based on early reports obtained from a small sample of firms selected from the larger Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS) sample. All other estimates are from the MRTS sample. (3) GAFO represents firms which specialize in department store types of merchandise and is comprised of furniture & home furnishings (442), electronics & appliances (443), clothing & accessories(448), sporting goods, hobby, book, and music (451), general merchandise(452), office supply, stationery, and gift stores(4532). (4) Estimates include data for leased departments operated within department stores. Data for this line are not included in broader kind-of-business totals.

TABLE 2. ESTIMATED CHANGE IN SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES, BY KIND OF BUSINESS--April 2005

(Estimates are shown as percents and are based on data from the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey, Monthly Retail Trade Survey, and administrative records.) Data adjusted for seasonal variations, holiday, and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. Apr Mar 2005 2005 adv. prel. from-- from-- NAICS Kind of Business Mar Apr Feb Mar Code 2005 2004 2005 2004 (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food Services, total.................... +1.4 +8.6 +0.4 +6.0 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts ).......... +1.1 +8.1 +0.2 +6.8 Retail .................................. +1.4 +8.7 +0.5 +6.1 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... +2.5 +10.0 +0.8 +3.5 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers............... +2.5 +10.1 +1.0 +3.5 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. +0.1 +3.1 -0.2 +2.3 443 Electronics & appliance stores................... -0.1 +5.3 -0.4 +6.6 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers +1.2 +7.4 +1.9 +5.4 445 Food & beverage stores........................... +0.7 +5.2 0.0 +4.6 4451 Grocery stores.................................. +0.6 +4.8 +0.1 +4.3 446 Health & personal care stores.................... +0.7 +6.2 +0.1 +4.7 447 Gasoline stations................................ +1.9 +19.8 +2.2 +18.5 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... +2.8 +7.9 -2.2 +1.6 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores........ -0.3 +2.2 +0.4 +2.1 452 General merchandise stores....................... +1.5 +7.4 -0.7 +4.7 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... +1.3 +1.6 -2.0 -1.9 453 Miscellaneous stores retailers................... +0.1 +5.1 +0.2 +6.4 454 Nonstore retailers............................... +0.4 +12.4 +1.8 +14.2 722 Food services & drinking places.................. +0.9 +6.9 -0.8 +5.8 (p) Preliminary estimate (r) Revised estimate (*) Estimates shown in this table are derived from adjusted estimates provided in Table 1 of this report. Data not adjusted for seasonal variations, holiday, trading-day differences, and price changes. Apr Mar 2005 2005 adv. prel. from-- from-- NAICS Kind of Business Mar Apr Feb Mar Code 2005 2004 2005 2004 (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food Services, total.................... -1.3 +7.2 +15.0 +7.4 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts ).......... -0.9 +6.8 +13.3 +8.6 Retail .................................. -1.5 +7.2 +15.5 +7.6 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... -2.7 +8.6 +20.6 +4.0 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers................ -2.8 +8.7 +21.1 +3.8 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. -5.3 +3.3 +10.4 +2.4 443 Electronics & appliance stores................... -9.4 +5.5 +4.9 +6.9 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers +12.5 +4.8 +29.6 +5.6 445 Food & beverage stores........................... -3.3 +3.6 +12.0 +7.9 4451 Grocery stores.................................. -3.8 +3.3 +12.0 +7.5 446 Health & personal care stores.................... -4.4 +4.6 +9.7 +5.7 447 Gasoline stations................................ +3.8 +20.1 +17.8 +18.4 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... -0.6 +4.3 +13.5 +7.1 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores........ -3.4 +3.1 +13.4 +2.0 452 General merchandise stores....................... -0.6 +5.3 +10.9 +7.7 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... +0.3 -0.6 +11.0 +0.6 453 Miscellaneous stores retailers................... -3.0 +3.3 +7.4 +8.0 454 Nonstore retailers............................... -12.3 +8.7 +12.1 +15.6 722 Food services & drinking places.................. +0.8 +7.7 +10.1 +6.3 (p) Preliminary estimate (r) Revised estimate Note: Table 3 provides estimated measures of sampling variability. Individuals who use estimates in this report to create new estimates should cite the Census Bureau as the source of only the original estimates. Additional information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, sample design, and definitions may be found at http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html SOURCE: Advance Monthly Sales for Retail Trade and Food Services--APRIL 2005 (Press Release available without charge from Public Information Office, Bureau of the Census Washington, D.C. 20233). Survey methodology and measures of sampling variability are documented in the Advance Press Release. Questions concerning this report should be directed to Mr. Scott Scheleur (301) 763-2713.

Survey Description

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Advance Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey (MARTS) to provide an early estimate of 
monthly sales by kind of business for retail and food service firms located in the United States.  Each month, questionnaires 
are mailed to a probability sample of approximately 5,000 employer firms selected from the larger Monthly Retail Trade Survey 
(MRTS).  Firms responding to MARTS account for approximately 65% of the total national sales estimate.  Advance sales estimates 
are computed using a link relative estimator.  The change in sales from the previous months is estimated using only units that 
have reported data for both the current and previous month.  There is no imputation or adjustment for nonrespondents in MARTS.  
The total sales estimate is derived by multiplying this ratio by the preliminary sales estimate for the previous month (derived 
from the larger MRTS sample).  Detailed industry estimates are summed to derive total estimates at broad industry levels.  
The monthly estimates are adjusted using annual survey estimates and for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day 
differences.  Additional information on MARTS and MRTS can be found on the Census Bureau website at:  
http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html.

Reliability of Estimates

Because the estimates presented in this report are based on a sample survey, they contain sampling error and nonsampling error.


Sampling error is the difference between the estimate and the result that would be obtained from a complete enumeration of the 
sampling frame conducted under the same survey conditions.  This error occurs because only a subset of the entire sampling frame 
is measured in a sample survey.  Standard errors and coefficients of variation (CV), as given in Table 3 of this report, are 
estimated measures of sampling variation.


The margin of sampling error, as used on page 1, gives a range about the estimate which is 90-percent confidence interval.  If, 
for example, the percent change estimate is +1.2 percent and its estimated standard error is 0.9 percent, then the margin of 
sampling error is 1.65 x 0.9 percent or 1.5 percent, and the 90 percent confidence interval is -0.3 percent to +2.7 percent.     
If the interval contains 0, then  one does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude at the 90 percent confidence 
level that the change is different from zero and therefore the change is not statistically significant.  Estimated changes shown 
in the text are statistically significant unless otherwise noted.  For a monthly total, the median estimated coefficient of 
variation is given.  The resulting confidence interval is the estimated value ±1.65 x CV x (the estimated monthly total).  
The Census Bureau recommends that individuals using estimates in this report incorporate this information into their analyses, 
as sampling error could affect the conclusions drawn from the estimates.

Nonsampling error encompasses all other factors that contribute to the total error of a sample survey estimate. This type of 
error can occur because of nonresponse, insufficient coverage of the universe of retail businesses, mistakes in the recording 
and coding of data, and other errors of collection, response, coverage, or processing. Although nonsampling error is not 
measured directly, the Census Bureau employs quality control procedures throughout the process to minimize this type of error. 


(1) Estimated measures of sampling variability are based on estimates not adjusted for seasonal variation, or holiday, or trading-day differences. Medians are based on estimates for the most recent 12 months.

(2) These columns provide measures of the difference between the advance-to-preliminary and preliminary-to-final estimates of month-to-month change for the same pair of months as measured by the Advance sample and MRTS sample. The average and median differences are based on estimates for the most recent 12 months. Note: Additional information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, sample design, and definitions may be found at http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html
o 4th Quarter 2004 Retail E-Commerce Sales


Back to Table of Contents Back to Retail Wholesale Home
Source: U. S. Census Bureau 
        Service Sector Statistics Division