Retail sales figures track the dollar value of merchandise sold within the retail trade.
Why This Matters
Retail sales figures track the dollar value of merchandise sold within the retail trade by taking a sampling of companies engaged in the business of selling end products to consumers.
They are closely watched as an indicator of the health of the economy (Investopedia, 2013; Little, 2013). They are also one of the “main economic indicators” used by the OECD, and are one of the main leading economic indicators used in predictions of future GDP growth (OECD iLibrary, 2013; Koenig, Dolmas & Piger, 2001).
The figures are closely watched by both economists and investors because consumer spending drives much of the economy, and they provide a strong picture of the robustness of that spending.
Measurement and Limitations
Retail sales data is used as an indicator of the health of the economy since it is a strong indicator of the level of consumer spending. However, they should be interpreted with caution since consumer spending can be affected by credit cycles, the health of the housing market, and other factors. For this reason they should be used alongside other indicators of the health of the economy, as well as indicators of consumer income and wealth.
Economic Development Winnipeg. (n.d.). Key economic indicator Highlights – Winnipeg CMA. Available at:https://www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com/uploads/document/winnipeg_key_economic_indicators.t1512574772.pdf
This data is updated annually as it becomes available.
Economic Development Winnipeg. (n.d.). Key economic indicators – Winnipeg CMA. Available at:http://www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com/uploads/document_file/winnipeg_key_economic_indicators.xlsx
Investopedia. (2013). Economic Indicators: Retail Sales Report. Retrieved from: http://www.investopedia.com/university/releases/retailsales.asp
Koenig, E.F., Dolmas, S. & Piger, J. (2001). The Use and Abuse of “Real-time” Data in Economic Forescasting. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Retrieved from:http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2001/2001-015.pdf
Little, K. (2013). Why Retail Sales are Important. Retrieved from: http://stocks.about.com/od/marketnews/a/stocksretailsal.htm
OCED iLibrary. (2013). Main Economic Indicators. Retrieved from:ttp://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/data/main-economic-indicators/production-and-sales_data-00048-en;jsessionid=l1rhi42q5yd7.x-oecd-live-01?isPartOf=/content/datacollection/mei-data-en
Retail Sales Sustainable Development Goals
8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.
A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress. . The creation of quality jobs will remain a major challenge for almost all economies well beyond 2015.
Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population.
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.
Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization.
Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen.