Retail Sales at Bookstores Up in March

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    Retail sales at U.S. bookstores were up by 2.4 percent in March 2017 compared to March 2016, according to preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census. Estimates reflect sales of all types of participating bookstores, including trade, college, religious, chain stores (including superstores), and others.

    March 2017 bookstore sales are estimated at $725 million, compared to sales of $708 million for the same period last year, with sales down 1.0 percent for the first quarter of 2017. The American Booksellers Association reported a 2.8 percent increase in units sold in independent bookstores for the first quarter, based on data from more than 500 independent bookstore locations reporting to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists. The Census Bureau reported total retail and food service sales in March 2017 of an estimated $484.1 billion, compared to $462 billion in March 2016, an increase of 4.8 percent. 

    Monthly retail sales, inventories, and inventories-to-sales ratios estimates were recently revised to reflect the results of the 2015 Annual Retail Trade Survey; revised non-adjusted estimates and corresponding adjusted estimates were released on April 26, 2017.

    Period

    2016 Final
    (Millions of Dollars)

    2017
    (Millions of Dollars)

    % Change
    2017 over 2016

    January

    1,451

    1,424

    -1.9

    February

    710

    690 

    -2.8

    March

    708

    725 (p)

    2.4

    YTD

    2,869

    2,839 (p)

    -1.0

    (p) Preliminary figure

    Note: Estimates reflect sales of all types of participating bookstores, including trade, college, religious, chain stores (including superstores), and others. A bookstore is defined as any retail establishment with sales comprised of more than 50 percent new books and periodicals, and estimates include sales of all products in these stores.