Business Contacts Surveys: Retail Survey Results - November 2011

Business Contact Surveys: Retail

November 2011

The District Retail Survey reflected mixed signals about retail activity in September.

  • The District Retail Survey revealed a slowdown in activity in September. Measures of store traffic and expectations for future sales declined from August. The net percent of firms reporting higher sales than this time last year was essentially unchanged from August, at 15 percent.
  • While firms still expect sales during the next three months to be higher than last year, the net percent has slipped considerably from August. Likewise, expectations for holiday sales declined. In last month's survey, 58 percent of retailers believed holiday sales would be higher than last year compared to 39 percent in this survey.
  • The majority of survey participants reported that inventory levels were up slightly or unchanged in September compared to this time last year.
  • Evidence of slight upward price pressure remains. About half of respondents said that prices are slightly higher than September 2010 and half said labor costs are up 3 to 4 percent from last year.

Note: +1 = Increase 0 = No change –1 = Decrease

Note: September survey results are based on responses from 27 retailers and were collected October 3–13.

The retail survey's diffusion index is calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. Positive values in the index indicate increased activity while negative values indicate decreased activity.