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Retail Commodity Survey, February 2022

Released: 2022-05-06

Retail sales reached $48.0 billion in February, an increase of 7.3% compared with the same month a year earlier. Higher sales were reported in 15 of the 19 commodity classes.

The advance estimate provided by the Monthly Retail Trade Survey suggests that unadjusted total retail sales in March increased by 4.4%. Because of its preliminary nature, this figure will be revised.

Fuel and motor vehicle sales drive retail sales in February

The largest increase in dollar terms came from sales of automotive and household fuels, which rose 37.1% compared with February 2021. This gain was spurred by higher prices seen at the pump, with sales of automotive fuels continuing to exceed pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, up 25.6% compared with February 2020.

Sales of motor vehicles remained strong in February, rising 5.8% from the same month a year earlier. Growth in the commodity class was driven by higher sales of used motor vehicles (+13.7%), with sales of used minivans, sport utility vehicles and light trucks (+18.6%) accounting for the bulk of the increase. Sales of new motor vehicles increased 0.3%.

Higher sales were posted in the clothing commodity class, up 35.4% compared with February 2021. Gains were recorded in every subclass, the largest of which were for sales of women's clothing (+33.9%) and sales of men's clothing (+48.3%). Sales of footwear continued to increase in February, rising 26.5% compared with same month a year earlier.

The largest decrease in dollar terms came from food, which posted a year-over-year decline of 0.7% in the month of February. In this product class, the largest drop was in fresh food (-1.3%).

  Note to readers

The Retail Commodity Survey collects national-level retail sales data, by commodity, from the same businesses surveyed in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey. No data have been seasonally adjusted. All percentage changes are year over year.

Starting with the May 2022 release of February data, estimates for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey are being calculated using a new sample. The sample is periodically refreshed to reflect the evolution of the target population since the last sample was drawn. The change is reflected on the Business Register through births, deaths and reclassifications to the survey population. The sample design has also been modified to be more efficient and to allow an increased use of administrative data sources

Regular annual revisions for 2021 and 2020 and typical historical revisions were also included in the new data series.

The data have been revised using historical linkage factors designed to preserve the continuity of the time series. The linkage method leads to larger revisions for more recent periods.

New retail commodity data for e-commerce now available

Estimates from the Retail Commodity Survey are now available for the electronic shopping and mail-order houses industry (North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] code 454110).

E-commerce figures from brick-and-mortar retailers are included with the retailer's commodity sales. If the online operations of a brick-and-mortar retailer are separately managed, they are classified under NAICS code 45411 (electronic shopping and mail-order houses). Businesses commonly referred to as pure-play Internet retailers are also classified under NAICS code 45411. Total retail sales figures do not include sales from retailers classified under NAICS code 45411.

Find more statistics on retail trade.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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