FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2008, AT 8:30 A.M. EDT


Scott Scheleur / Aneta Lukasik                                                                                                                                                                                            CB08-38
Service Sector Statistics Division
(301) 763-2713

ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL TRADE AND FOOD SERVICES


FEBRUARY 2008

Intention to Revise Retail Estimates: Monthly retail sales estimates will be revised based on the results of the 2006 Annual Retail Trade Survey. Revised not adjusted and corresponding adjusted data are scheduled for release on April 30, 2008. 

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $380.2 billion, a decrease of 0.6 percent (0.5%) from the previous month, but 2.6 percent (0.7%) above February 2007. Total sales for the December 2007 through February 2008 period were up 3.3 percent (0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The December 2007 to January 2008 percent change was revised from +0.3 percent (0.5%)* to +0.4 percent (0.2%).

Retail trade sales were down 0.6 percent (0.7%)* from January 2008, but were 2.4 percent (0.8%) above last year. Gasoline station sales were up 20.2 percent (1.0%) from February 2007 and sales of sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores were up 6.3 percent (2.8%) 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)

The Advance Monthly Retail Sales for Retail and Food Services for March is scheduled to be released April 14, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

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--February 2008

Estimates adjusted for seasonal variations and 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) 2008 2008 2007 2007 2007 NAICS(1) Kind of Business Feb(3) Jan Dec Feb Jan Code (a) (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food services, total.................... 380,197 382,336 380,711 370,630 367,623 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts)............ 305,628 306,293 304,802 292,779 290,907 Retail ....................................... 341,970 343,938 342,237 334,072 330,991 GAFO(4).......................................... (*) 98,606 97,971 96,583 97,383 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... 74,569 76,043 75,909 77,851 76,716 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers................. 68,328 69,852 69,638 71,697 70,525 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. 9,919 9,969 10,027 10,369 10,376 443 Electronics & appliance stores.................... 9,343 9,377 9,383 9,301 9,323 44311,13 Appl., T.V. & camera........................... (*) 7,626 7,570 7,454 7,441 44312 Computer & software stores...................... (*) 1,751 1,813 1,847 1,882 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers 28,321 28,510 28,685 29,548 29,466 4441 Building mat. & supplies dealers................ (*) 24,363 24,686 25,760 26,044 445 Food & beverage stores........................... 48,883 48,990 48,921 46,890 46,464 4451 Grocery stores.................................. 43,694 43,819 43,542 41,788 41,405 4453 Beer, wine & liquor stores...................... (*) 3,490 3,462 3,279 3,238 446 Health & personal care stores.................... 20,270 20,170 20,028 19,401 19,353 44611 Pharmacies & drug stores........................ (*) 16,812 16,661 16,436 16,473 447 Gasoline stations................................ 39,721 40,103 39,190 33,051 32,381 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... 18,932 18,901 18,492 18,502 18,769 44811 Men's clothing stores........................... (*) (S) (S) (S) (S) 44812 Women's clothing stores......................... (*) 3,322 3,346 3,352 3,386 4482 Shoe stores..................................... (*) 2,269 2,262 2,222 2,294 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores....... 7,666 7,637 7,412 7,212 7,206 452 General merchandise stores....................... 48,985 48,795 48,817 47,293 47,761 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... 16,892 16,926 17,198 17,591 17,898 4521 Department stores (incl. L.D.)(5)............... (*) (NA) (NA) (NA) (NA) 4529 Other general merchandise stores................ (*) 31,869 31,619 29,702 29,863 45291 Warehouse clubs & supercenters................. (*) 28,135 28,079 26,188 26,310 45299 All other gen. merchandise stores.............. (*) 3,734 3,540 3,514 3,553 453 Miscellaneous store retailers.................... 10,258 10,308 10,147 10,004 9,959 454 Nonstore retailers............................... 25,103 25,135 25,226 24,650 23,217 4541 Electronic shopping & mail-order houses......... (*) 16,802 16,815 16,180 15,815 722 Food services & drinking places.................. 38,227 38,398 38,474 36,558 36,632 (*) Advance estimates are not available for this kind of business. (NA) Not available (S) Suppressed (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 & 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--February 2008

Estimates not adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences and price changes. (In Millions of dollars and Annual Percent Change) 2 month total % Chg. 2008 2008 2007 2007 2007 NAICS(1) Kind of Business 2008 from Feb(2) Jan Dec Feb Jan Code 2007 (a) (p) (r) Retail & food services, total.................... 698,721 5.8 349,746 348,975 433,319 327,624 332,797 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts)............ 561,858 7.4 280,049 281,809 363,021 257,427 265,530 Retail ....................................... 626,849 5.6 313,507 313,342 394,152 294,356 298,986 GAFO(3).......................................... (*) (*) (*) 85,570 147,633 83,015 83,867 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... 136,863 -0.4 69,697 67,166 70,298 70,197 67,267 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers................. 125,357 -0.8 63,887 61,470 64,485 64,671 61,639 44111 New car dealers................................ (*) (*) (*) 50,416 54,024 53,428 51,064 4413 Auto parts, acc. & tire stores.................. (*) (*) (*) 5,696 5,813 5,526 5,628 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. 18,506 -2.0 9,225 9,281 11,601 9,249 9,639 4421 Furniture stores................................ (*) (*) (*) 5,202 5,527 5,324 5,256 4422 Home furnishings stores......................... (*) (*) (*) 4,079 6,074 3,925 4,383 443 Electronics & appliance stores.................... 17,716 2.5 8,824 8,892 15,448 8,449 8,833 44311,13 Appl., T.V. & camera........................... (*) (*) (*) 7,199 12,649 6,783 7,024 44312 Computer & software stores...................... (*) (*) (*) 1,693 2,799 1,666 1,809 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers 45,621 -2.3 22,624 22,997 24,732 22,771 23,941 4441 Building mat. & supplies dealers................ (*) (*) (*) 20,538 21,773 20,479 21,929 445 Food & beverage stores........................... 93,924 7.3 46,004 47,920 53,685 42,535 45,010 4451 Grocery stores.................................. 84,978 7.7 41,422 43,556 46,198 38,194 40,743 4453 Beer, wine & liquor stores...................... (*) (*) (*) 2,925 4,732 2,748 2,710 446 Health & personal care stores.................... 40,399 6.3 20,108 20,291 22,051 18,450 19,547 44611 Pharmacies & drug stores........................ (*) (*) (*) 17,081 18,127 15,631 16,770 447 Gasoline stations................................ 72,124 25.0 35,550 36,574 36,995 28,292 29,402 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... 30,753 4.5 16,328 14,425 31,197 15,307 14,111 44811 Men's clothing stores........................... (*) (*) (*) 734 1,444 691 722 44812 Women's clothing stores......................... (*) (*) (*) 2,581 4,946 2,665 2,621 44814 Family clothing stores.......................... (*) (*) (*) 5,420 11,479 5,457 5,255 4482 Shoe stores..................................... (*) (*) (*) 1,788 3,006 1,913 1,789 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores....... 13,503 8.2 6,294 7,209 12,564 5,647 6,831 452 General merchandise stores....................... 86,172 5.5 44,070 42,102 71,367 40,844 40,800 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... 27,688 -2.9 14,320 13,368 29,610 14,426 14,078 4521 Department stores (incl. L.D.)(4)............... (*) (*) (*) 13,717 30,341 14,806 14,461 4529 Other general merchandise stores................ (*) (*) (*) 28,734 41,757 26,418 26,722 45291 Warehouse clubs & supercenters................. (*) (*) (*) 25,631 36,447 23,438 23,837 45299 All other gen. merchandise stores.............. (*) (*) (*) 3,103 5,310 2,980 2,885 453 Miscellaneous store retailers.................... 19,089 6.3 9,548 9,541 12,129 8,849 9,117 454 Nonstore retailers............................... 52,179 8.1 25,235 26,944 32,085 23,766 24,488 4541 Electronic shopping & mail-order houses......... (*) (*) (*) 16,600 22,145 14,400 15,657 722 Food services & drinking places.................. 71,872 7.1 36,239 35,633 39,167 33,268 33,811 (*) 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 & 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 2A. ESTIMATED CHANGE IN SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES, BY KIND OF BUSINESS--February 2008

Estimates adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes (Estimates are shown as percents and are based on data from the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey, Monthly Retail Trade Survey, and administrative records.)(*) Feb Jan 2008 2008 adv. prel. from-- from-- NAICS Kind of Business Jan Feb Dec Jan Code 2008 2007 2007 2007 (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food Services, total.................... -0.6 +2.6 +0.4 +4.0 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts ).......... -0.2 +4.4 +0.5 +5.3 Retail .................................. -0.6 +2.4 +0.5 +3.9 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... -1.9 -4.2 +0.2 -0.9 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers............... -2.2 -4.7 +0.3 -1.0 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. -0.5 -4.3 -0.6 -3.9 443 Electronics & appliance stores................... -0.4 +0.5 -0.1 +0.6 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers -0.7 -4.2 -0.6 -3.2 445 Food & beverage stores........................... -0.2 +4.3 +0.1 +5.4 4451 Grocery stores.................................. -0.3 +4.6 +0.6 +5.8 446 Health & personal care stores.................... +0.5 +4.5 +0.7 +4.2 447 Gasoline stations................................ -1.0 +20.2 +2.3 +23.8 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... +0.2 +2.3 +2.2 +0.7 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores........ +0.4 +6.3 +3.0 +6.0 452 General merchandise stores....................... +0.4 +3.6 0.0 +2.2 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... -0.2 -4.0 -1.6 -5.4 453 Miscellaneous stores retailers................... -0.5 +2.5 +1.6 +3.5 454 Nonstore retailers............................... -0.1 +1.8 -0.4 +8.3 722 Food services & drinking places.................. -0.4 +4.6 -0.2 +4.8 (p) Preliminary estimate (r) Revised estimate (*) Estimates shown in this table are derived from adjusted estimates provided in Table 1A of this report.

TABLE 2B. ESTIMATED CHANGE IN SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES, BY KIND OF BUSINESS--February 2008

Data not adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences and price changes. (Estimates are shown as percents and are based on data from the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey, Monthly Retail Trade Survey, and administrative records.)(*) Feb Jan 2008 2008 adv. prel. from-- from-- NAICS Kind of Business Jan Feb Dec Jan Code 2008 2007 2007 2007 (p) (r) (r) (r) Retail & food Services, total.................... +0.2 +6.8 -19.5 +4.9 Total (excl. motor vehicle & parts ).......... -0.6 +8.8 -22.4 +6.1 Retail .................................. +0.1 +6.5 -20.5 +4.8 441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers.................... +3.8 -0.7 -4.5 -0.2 4411,4412 Auto & other motor veh. dealers................ +3.9 -1.2 -4.7 -0.3 442 Furniture & home furnishings stores.............. -0.6 -0.3 -20.0 -3.7 443 Electronics & appliance stores................... -0.8 +4.4 -42.4 +0.7 444 Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers -1.6 -0.6 -7.0 -3.9 445 Food & beverage stores........................... -4.0 +8.2 -10.7 +6.5 4451 Grocery stores.................................. -4.9 +8.5 -5.7 +6.9 446 Health & personal care stores.................... -0.9 +9.0 -8.0 +3.8 447 Gasoline stations................................ -2.8 +25.7 -1.1 +24.4 448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores........... +13.2 +6.7 -53.8 +2.2 451 Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores........ -12.7 +11.5 -42.6 +5.5 452 General merchandise stores....................... +4.7 +7.9 -41.0 +3.2 4521 Department stores (ex. L.D.).................... +7.1 -0.7 -54.9 -5.0 453 Miscellaneous stores retailers................... +0.1 +7.9 -21.3 +4.7 454 Nonstore retailers............................... -6.3 +6.2 -16.0 +10.0 722 Food services & drinking places.................. +1.7 +8.9 -9.0 +5.4 (p) Preliminary estimate (r) Revised estimate (*) Estimates shown in this table are derived from not adjusted estimates provided in Table 1B of this report.
SOURCE: Advance Monthly Sales for Retail Trade and Food Services--FEBRUARY 2008 (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 month 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 revisions 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 Current Quarter Retail E-Commerce Sales

Source: Retail Indicators Branch, U.S. Census Bureau | Last Revised: March 13, 2008