DEFINITION of 'Core Retail Sales'

U.S. aggregate retail sales excluding automobile and gasoline sales, which are excluded due to their volatility. The figures are released monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce about two weeks after the end of the reference month. As consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, the core retail sales data is an important indicator about the health of the overall economy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Core Retail Sales'

Core retail sales data is used extensively by various government bureaus to calculate GDP, develop consumer price indexes and analyze current economic activity, while the Federal Reserve uses the numbers to assess recent trends in consumer purchases.

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