Census Bureau's advance monthly sales creep upward

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October were $397.7 billion, an increase of 0.5% from the previous month and 7.2% above October 2010. 

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (NAICS 444) increased slightly from month to month, improving to $25.770 billion, up from $25.388 billion in September. Compared with a year ago, sales of 444 category retailers increased 5.6%, according to the report released Tuesday morning.

The figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. Total sales for the August through October 2011 period were up 7.6% from the same period a year ago. The August to September 2011 percent change was unrevised from +1.1%.

Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from September 2011 and 7.3% above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 11.1% from last year.

On an unadjusted basis, the government data showed hardware stores in September -- the latest month of available data -- had sales of $1.644 billion, down 8.1%  from $1.788 billion in October. but up 9.9% from $1.496 billion in September 2010.