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32. 1997 Economic Census
1 Based on 1987 Standard Industrial Classification code; see text, Section 13, Labor Force.
2 Excludes supplies and equipment used in store and warehouse operations that are not for resale.
3 Includes kinds of business not shown separately.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Business Reports, Annual Benchmark Report for Retail Trade, January 1990 Through December 1999, (BR/99-A) and unpublished data.
http://www.census.gov/econ/www/retmenu.html * ANNUAL RETAIL TRADE SURVEY
To provide detailed industry measures of retail company activities. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses.
Retail companies with one or more establishments that sell merchandise and associated services to final consumers (SIC Division G). In 1995, consumers spent more than an estimated $2.3 trillion at retail establishments.
Companies provide data on dollar value of retail sales, sales taxes collected, inventories, method-of-inventory valuation, cost of purchases, and account receivables balances.
Annually since 1951 (except 1954); reported data are for activity taking place over the prior calendar year. Data collection begins the first week after the close of the year. Samples are re-selected every 5 years and updated annually, most recently for the 1996 reference year.
A mail-out/mail-back survey of a sub-sample of about 22,000 firms selected from the monthly retail trade survey panels. The annual survey consists of all monthly survey panel firms that had payrolls during the reference year, plus administrative data or imputed values to account for nonemployer retail businesses.
There are currently about 31,000 companies in the monthly sample. The monthly sample consists of 3 rotating panels of about 6,100 single-unit firms and 2,200 small multi-unit firms; and a special panel of large multi-unit firms and other firms with large sales.
The annual survey uses 2 of the 3 rotating monthly panels, and the special monthly panel. Since 1977, the monthly retail trade survey has been benchmarked to the annual retail trade report. Inventories have been similarly benchmarked since 1951. Annual estimates are benchmarked to the most recent census of retail trade. In addition, benchmarking the annual survey to the monthly surveys greatly improved the quality of the monthly estimates and allowed the sample to be reduced.
* DEFINITION OF TERMS
Sales. Sales include the following: merchandise sold for cash or credit at retail and wholesale by establishments primarily engaged in retail trade; amounts received from customers for layaway purchases; receipts from rental or leasing of vehicles, equipment, instruments, tools, etc; receipts for delivery, installation, maintenance, repair, alteration, storage, and other services; and receipts from gasoline, liquor, tobacco, and other excise taxes which are paid by the manufacturer or wholesaler and passed along to the retailer. Sales are net after deduction for refunds and allowances for merchandise returned by customers. Trade-in allowances and manufacturers' rebates are not deducted from total sales, however, rebates offered by the retailer are deducted. Total sales do not include commissions from vending machine operators or nonoperating income from such sources as investments and rental or sales or real estate.
Sales exclude sales and excise taxes collected directly from customers and paid directly to a local, State, or Federal tax agency. Also excluded are receipts from customers for carrying or other credit charges.
The sales data represent total sales and receipts of all establishments primarily engaged in retail trade. They do not include sales at retail by manufacturers, wholesalers, service establishments, and others whose primary activity is other than retail trade.
Inventories. Inventories represent stocks of merchandise, valued at cost, on hand for sale by retail establishments at the end of the month. Methods of valuation may vary according to the accounting practices of the firms. However, the estimates provided are on a non-LIFO basis. Inventories are shown for retail stores and warehouses combined. Only those warehouses which maintain supplies of merchandise primarily intended for distribution to retail stores within the organization are included. Inventories exclude the value of fixtures, furnishings, equipment, and supplies used in store and warehouse operations and not held for resale.
Inventories-sales ratios. The inventories-sales ratios indicate the relationship of end-of-month inventories to sales during the month. The ratios shown are derived by dividing the inventories estimates by the corresponding sales estimates. No adjustment is made in these ratios for the markup in sales which may vary from one kind of business to another.
Kind-of-business classifications. Retail trade, defined as major groups 52 through 59 of the SIC Manual, includes establishments engaged in selling merchandise for personal or household consumption and rendering services incidental to the sale of the goods. Exceptions to this general rule are made necessary by trade practices. For example, lumber yards and paint, glass, and wallpaper stores are included in retail trade if they sell to the general public, even if a higher proportion of their sales is made to contractors. Also, establishments engaged in selling products such as typewriters, stationery or gasoline to the general public are classified in retail trade, even though such products may not be used for personal or household consumption. However, even within these areas of exception to the general rule, establishments that sell exclusively to business establishments, institutional and industrial users, or contractors are classified in wholesale trade.
Additional characteristics of retail trade establishments are that they usually operate at fixed places of business; they are engaged in activities to attract the general public to buy; they buy or receive merchandise as well as sell; they may process their products, but such processing is incidental or subordinate to selling; and they are considered as retail in the trade. Not all of these characteristics need to be present, and some are modified by trade practice.
Kind-of-business classifications are not interchangeable with commodity classifications. Most businesses sell several kinds of commodities. The kind-of-business code assigned generally reflects the individual commodity, the commodity group which is the primary source of the establishment's receipts, or some mixture of commodities which characterizes the establishment's business. Classification of establishments by kind of business generally does not make it possible to determine either the number of establishments handling a particular commodity or the sales of that commodity. For example, the food group classification excludes stores selling food if the sale of food is not the primary source of receipts; moreover, even though stores are classified as food stores, some of their receipts may be derived from the sales of nonfood products.
Purchases represent the total cost of merchandise that was purchased for resale during the year, whether or not payment for the merchandise was made during the year.
Purchases data include cash and credit purchases made at central offices and company warehouses. The purchases, however, exclude deliveries from central offices or warehouses to retail stores owned by other companies. We asked those companies engaged in both manufacturing and retailing to include purchases at the cost value of intercompany transfers from their plant or warehouses to their retail stores. Also, we asked these companies to include the cost of outside purchases.
Cost of Goods Available for Sale and Cost of Goods Sold
Cost of goods available for sale is calculated by adding the purchases made during the year to the preceding year's end-of-year inventories. To calculate the cost of goods sold, we deducted the end of the current year's value of inventories from the cost of goods available for sale.
Gross margin represents total sales less cost of goods sold.
These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.
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