A monthly survey by the Commerce Department that measures the sales of durable and nondurable goods sold to consumers. (A durable good is a product that is expected to last more than three years.) The changes in retail sales are seen as the most timely indicator of broad consumer spending patterns. Bond holders favor a decline in retail sales because such weakness signals a slowing economy. A strong economy brings fears of inflation, which hurts bond prices.
A statistic that measures key areas of retail activity, such as building materials, automobiles, furniture, food, department store goods, gasoline, restaurants and drug store sales. When this statistic moves upward, economic growth is indicated.