Understanding Retail Sales

With the economic crisis officially over, the American economy has started to grow again, and one of the constant themes thrown around is that the consumer is spending more money. This economic statistic is tabulated as retail sales, and when the U.S. Census Department releases these numbers, it’s usually a front page story on everything from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times.

But what exactly makes up retail sales? Is it simply the amount of dresses sold at Macy’s, or the number of apples sold at Whole Foods?

In fact, it’s those things, but it’s also a whole lot more. But it’s that whole lot more section that really carries the economic load.

Check out the graphic below for a breakdown of just what makes up retail sales, how much money it makes, and a little bit of info of what’s going on in that sector.

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