Economic Indicators for Today: Retail Sales, Business Inventories

November Retail Sales up 1%:

U.S. retail and food services sales for November increased 1% from the previous month to $368.9 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Retail sales are up 5.6% from an year ago period in November 2005. Total sales for the September through November 2006 period were up 5.3% from the same period a year ago. 

  • The November increase was led by a 4.6% surge in electronics and appliances as well as 0.9% jump in auto sales. 
  • Department stores and other general merchandise stores posted a 0.4 percent rise in November.
  • Sales at gasoline stations were up 2.3% in November following a 5.3% decline in October.
  • Excluding autos, retail sales were up a solid 0.9% in November.

Retail trade sales were up 1.1% from October and were 5.3% above last year. Non-store retailers were up 10.1% from November 2005 and sales of health and personal care stores were up 8.7% from last year.

October Business Inventories Fell 0.2%:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the combined value trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for October,  was estimated at $1,046.3 billion, down 0.2% from September and up 3.6% from October 2005.

Manufacturers’ and trade inventories were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,365.9 billion, up 0.4% from September and up 7.3% from October 2005.

The total business inventories/sales ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of October was 1.31, compared to 1.26 in October 2005. 

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