retail sales index

Definition

A monthly measurement of all goods sold by retailers based on a sampling of retail stores of different types and sizes. The retail sales index is often taken as an indicator of consumer confidence. Released at 8:30 am EST around the 12th of each month, the report reflects data from the previous month. This report is the "advance" report, which can be revised fairly significantly after the final numbers are calculated. Many analysts choose to look at the figures "ex-auto", which means excluding the volatile car sales figure.
It is thought that this number is a better measure of across-the-board purchasing trends. The report does not include money spent on services, so it represents less than half of total consumption during the month. However, even with these limitations, the figures are closely watched as an indicator of the health of the economy.

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retail sales index