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Economic, US News

1,000-Word Charts: U.S. Retail Sales

Alex Carrick
1,000-Word Charts: U.S. Retail Sales

Due to its complexity, much of the subject matter concerning the economy requires detailed editorial commentary, often supported by relevant tables and graphs.

At the same time, though, there are many topics (e.g., relating to demographics, housing starts, etc.) that cry out for compelling ‘shorthand’ visualizations.

Whichever path is followed, the point of the journey, almost always, is to reach a bottom line or two.

To provide additional value, ConstructConnect is now pleased to offer an ongoing series of 1,000-word charts.

These will help readers sort out the ‘big picture’ more clearly.

These 1,000-word charts look at the latest retail sales figures in the U.S. (as of May and June 2021).

Graph 1: Total Retail Sales in the U.S. Monthly
The exaggerated drop on the downside in the Spring of last year was counterbalanced by a big jump upwards in the early part of this year, 2021. Now, there's a 'settling down' phase.
The last data points are for June, 2021.
Adjusted for seasonality and trading day differences, but not for price changes (i.e., figures are in ‘current’ dollars).
Data source: Census Bureau.
Chart: ConstructConnect.
Graph 2: Sales by U.S. Building Material & Supplies Dealers
The background numbers for this graph are a subset derived from a broader designation that includes garden equipment. Also, the reported data for sales by 'building material & supplies dealers' alone is always a month behind. Latest (May 2021) results were +10.9% y/y, but -4.7% m/m.
Data source: Census Bureau.
Chart: ConstructConnect.
Graph 3: U.S. Sales by Food Services & Drinking Places
The background numbers for this graph are a subset derived from a broader designation that includes garden equipment. Also, the reported data for sales by 'building material & supplies dealers' alone is always a month behind. Latest (May 2021) results were +10.9% y/y, but -4.7% m/m.
Latest data point is for June, 2021.
Adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.
Data source: U.S. Census Bureau (Department of Commerce).
Chart: ConstructConnect.
Graph 4: U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Y/Y – June 2021
Non-store (e.g., Internet) retail sales,  which were so strong earlier in the  pandemic, are easing off a bit. In June, they were +12.0% y/y. (In Jan 2021, they maxed out at +17.0% y/y.)
‘Current dollars’ means not adjusted for inflation. Underlying numbers are seasonally adjusted & not ‘smoothed’.
Data source: U.S. Census Bureau.
Chart: ConstructConnect.

Please click on the following link to view the latest retail sales charts for the U.S. and Canada: CanaData Forecaster Charts & Tables – Retail Sales


Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the U.S., Canadian and world construction outlooks. Mr. Carrick has been with the company since 1985. Links to his numerous articles are featured on Twitter @ConstructConnx, which has 50,000 followers.

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