Retail sales figures track the dollar value of merchandise sold to consumers within the retail trade.
Why This Matters
Retail sales figures track how many dollars’ worth of merchandise is being sold by looking at a sample of retail companies within a given geographic area and time period.
Retail sales are closely watched as an indicator of economic activity. 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. Governments, policy makers and businesses rely on these indicators to forecast their revenue projections for the year, which often determines how much they plan to invest in or cut from local services, programming or projects.
Measurement and Limitations
Retail sales data are 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 retail sales should be used alongside other economic indicators, as well as indicators of consumer income and wealth, to get a clearer picture of the health of the economy.
Economic Development Winnipeg. (n.d.). Key economic indicator Highlights – Winnipeg CMA. Retrieved from https://www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com/uploads/document/winnipeg_key_economic_indicators.t1512574772.pdf
Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers.
Economic Development Winnipeg. (n.d.). Key economic indicators – Winnipeg CMA. Available at: http://www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com/uploads/document_file/winnipeg_key_economic_indicators.xlsx
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
OCED iLibrary. (2013). Main Economic Indicators. Retrieved from: http://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 in the Sustainable Development Goals
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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.
Related Retail Sales Targets
Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead
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.
Related Retail Sales Targets
Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all