Retail Inventories

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Definition of 'Retail Inventories'

Retail inventories refer to the total amount of goods and products held in inventory by retailers. These inventories represent the stock of goods that retailers have purchased from wholesalers and other suppliers, and are available for sale to end customers.

Retailers typically purchase goods in smaller quantities than wholesalers, as they are selling directly to consumers rather than to other businesses. They may store these goods in their own warehouses and distribution centers, or in-store on shelves and racks.

Retail inventories can be an important indicator of economic activity, as changes in inventory levels can reflect changes in consumer demand and production. When retail inventories are rising, it can indicate that retailers are stocking up in anticipation of increased demand, which can be a positive sign for future economic growth. Conversely, when retail inventories are declining, it can indicate weaker demand and slower economic activity.

The U.S. Census Bureau regularly releases data on retail inventories as part of its monthly Retail and Food Services Sales report. This report provides information on retail inventories, sales, and inventory-to-sales ratios across various industries, and is closely watched by economists and investors as a gauge of overall economic activity and consumer spending.

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