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Retail Trade Index

The Retail Trade Index shows the development in turnover within the retail trade sector. The statistics is published monthly and is primarily used as short term indicator for private consumption as well as the general business cycle movement.

Statistical presentation

Retail trade indices are published for 42 industries and for three commodity groups: food and other everyday commodities, clothing etc., and other commodities. Value and volume indices are produced. The volume index is made for the commodity groups and special industry aggregates for Eurostat. The statistics are based on survey data from all large retail trade enterprises and a sample of the remaining retail trade enterprises, which are requested to submit information about their turnover each month. Seasonal adjustment is performed of the three main commodity groups and the total.

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Statistical processing

The survey is based on a sample of Danish retail trade enterprises. The sample includes approximately 2,200 enterprises, and at the time of the first publication, the figures for a month are based on responses from approximately 2000 of these enterprises.

The sample consist of 42 subgroups and enterprises are sampled based on their share of the yearly turnover for the given subgroup. The companies are ranked from largest to smallest and the companies, whose rank constitutes the bottom 10 pct. of turnover for their subgroup when summed, are never selected to participate. The companies whose rank lies between 11 and 49 pct. of the subgroup’s yearly summed turnover, are randomly selected. Lastly, the larger firms whose turnover altogether lies in the top 50 pct. of the yearly turnover for their subgroup are always included in the sample. The companies are selected based on VAT-declarations to the Danish tax administration.

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Many users who monitor the current business trends take an interest in the published statistics of retail trade. The demand for the statistics is broadly based in trade associations, the bank and finance sector, politicians, public and private institutions, researchers, enterprises, news media and Eurostat. The statistics provide input to the quarterly national accounts statistics and to Eurostat's pan-European statistics. The users view the retail trade index as an important short term indicator, and it often gets a lot of attention in the media and amongst other professional users.

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Accuracy and reliability

The overall uncertainty of the total retail trade index is estimated to be less than 1 per cent. On commodity group level, the uncertainty of the group Food and other convenience goods is about the same, whereas for Clothing etc. it can be up to 3 per cent and for other consumer goods up to 2 per cent.

The accuracy of the monthly growth rate is generally very high. For the total index, the uncertainty is estimated to be maximum 0.2 percentage points, while it can be a little higher on commodity group level.

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Timeliness and punctuality

Indices on the main commodity groups are published already 20-22 days after the end of the month. This is rather quick for statistics based on a survey such as this. One month later the indices on the most detailed industry level are published. The punctuality is very high with delays happening very rarely.

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These statistics have been compiled since 1939, but they are not suited for long term time series analysis because of structural changes in the retail trade sector. The sample design and the calculation methods have been adjusted several times, last time in May 2012, where the time series back to 2000 where recalculated using new methods.

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Accessibility and clarity

These statistics are published in a Danish press release and in the StatBank under Retail Trade Index. The Retail Trade Index also has a subject page.

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