Retail sales

The US Core Retail Sales report
Release Date: Usually about 14 days after the end of the month under review
Release Time: At 8.30am
Released By: The US Census Bureau
The UK Retail Sales report
Release Date: Usually in the last week of the month
Release Time: At 4.30am EST
Released By: The Office of National Statistics
The Canada Core Retail Sales Report
Release Date: Usually in the last week of the new month
Release Time: At 8.30am EST
Released By: Statistics Canada


The Retail Sales report is a monthly report issued out of several countries. However, as the biggest consumer of imported goods, the Retails Sales report out of the United States is one of the most significant of these reports and is described here.

Two reports are issued: the Retail Sales and Core Retail Sales. The Core Retail Sales report is the tradable version and is issued in the US by the US Census Bureau, Department of Commerce and is a measure of the change in the total value of sales at the retail level, excluding sales of automobiles. Automobile prices usually have a lot of variation and so its inclusion would skew the report, hence the exclusion. The Core version of the report is thus viewed by traders as a better reflection of the spending trends of consumers at retail outlets.

It is also called the Retail Sales Ex-Autos report.

Time of Release

The US Core Retail Sales report is available on the website of the US Census Bureau. The news release time is 8.30am, about 14 days after the end of the month under review. It is reported in an annualized format, i.e. the monthly figure is multiplied by 12 and reported.

In the UK, retail sales m/m data are released by the Office of National Statistics and also measures the change in the inflation-adjusted value of sales in retail outlets across the UK. Data can be seen at the Office of National Statistics website and also on news release sites, usually at 4.30am EST in the last week of the month.

In Canada, the Core Retail Sales m/m report is released by Statistics Canada and measures the change in the total monetary value of sales made in retail outlets across Canada. It is usually released at 8.30am EST in the last week of the new month. Data can be seen on Statistics Canada website.

Interpreting the Data

The Retail Sales report is one of the major indicators of consumer spending, employment and manufacturing. Retailers sell manufactured goods. When there are increased retail sales, it means better business for retailers, their suppliers and the manufacturers of those goods. This will ultimately lead to more employment and better wages, which will ultimately lead to more consumer spending and better retail sales in a positive feedback mechanism.

As a trading indicator, the US Retail Sales report carries high market impact and is tradable. An increase in the US Core Retail Sales higher than the consensus figure is seen to be USD positive and a lower than expected figure is seen to be USD negative. Usually the USDJPY is the currency of choice because many goods found in the retail outlets in the US are made in Japan. The US is Japan’s 2nd largest trade partner and the US imports a lot of finished goods from Japan.