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Monthly 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

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

Sample revisions are performed approximately every two and a half to three years.

When were estimates from the new Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey sample released?

Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey estimates based on the new sample were released with the annual revision release on May 25th, 2018. The May Advance Monthly Sales for Retail Trade and Food Services Report released on June 14th, 2018 is based on the new sample.

What is the size of the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey sample?

The size of the current Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey sample is approximately 5,500 employer firms. The size of the prior Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey sample was approximately 4,700 firms.

Are the estimates from different Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey samples comparable?

Yes. Estimates from different samples have been linked to be on a comparable basis.

What was the impact of adopting the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) definitions for the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey?

Effective with the Annual Revision release on May 25th, 2018, advance monthly retail estimates have been published on a 2012 NAICS basis. Time series affected by the definition changes were restated to the beginning of the time series. For a complete list of the series that were restated, please review our summary of NAICS restatement and publication table changes.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Monthly Retail Trade | (301) 763-2713 |  Last Revised: March 11, 2022