A report issued by the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, tallying receipts from stores selling durable and non- durable goods. This report can provide valuable insight into consumer spending, and is closely watched for any changes in trend. Generally, the report is analyzed ex-autos, as auto sales can fluctuate a great deal from month to month. The data is used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for help in estimating Gross Domestic Product. The Federal Reserve Board relies on the data to anticipate changes in the U.S. economic situation. The report also provides the first monthly estimates of broad-based retail trading activity. The data is released on a monthly basis, usually around the 12th.