FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2008, AT 8:30 A.M. EDT

Timothy Winters/ Aneta Lukasik                                                                                                                                                                                            CB08-132
Service Sector Statistics Division
(301) 763-2713



The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $381.2 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, but 1.6 percent (±0.7%) above August 2007. Total sales for the June through August 2008 period were up 2.3 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The June to July 2008 percent change was revised from -0.1 percent (±0.5%)* to -0.5 percent (±0.3%).

Retail trade sales were down 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from July 2008, but were 1.3 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Gasoline station sales were up 22.5 percent (±1.8%) from August 2007 and sales of food and beverage stores were up 6.9 percent (±0.8%) from last year.

The advance estimates are based on a subsample of the Census Bureau's full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is used to select approximately 5,000 retail and food services firms whose sales are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of over three million retail and food services firms. Responding firms account for approximately 65% of the MARTS dollar volume estimate. For an explanation of the measures of sampling variability included in this report, please see the Reliability of Estimates section on the last page of this publication.

Percent Change in Retail and Food Services Sales

(Estimates adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday, and trading-day differences, but not for price changes)

The Advance Monthly Retail Sales for Retail and Food Services for September is scheduled to be released October 15, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

For information, visit the Census Bureau's Web site at <>. This report is also available the day of issue through the Department of Commerce's STAT-USA (202-482-1986).

* The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. The Census Bureau does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different than zero.

o Current Quarter Retail E-Commerce Sales

Source: Retail Indicators Branch, a U.S. Census Bureau | Last Revised: September 12, 2008