[Commerce Seal]

UNITED STATES BUREAU OF THE CENSUS

Economic and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce



ADVANCE DATA ON LARGE RETAILERS` PROFITS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER 1996

July 1996--------------------Released 10A.M. EDT, July 10, 1996 (CB-96-111)
Contact: Ronald H. Lee (301) 763-5435 or Frank Hartman (301) 763-7182.


Large Retailers' After Tax Profits
After-tax profits for retail corporations with assets of $50 million and over averaged 1.2 cents per dollar of sales for the first quarter of 1996, down 0.6 (+/-0.15) cents from the preceding quarter, and down 0.3 (+/-0.15) cents from the same quarter in 1995, according to advance data from the Commerce Department`s Bureau of the Census.

For the first quarter of 1996, these large retail corporations reported after-tax profits of $2.8 billion, down $1.8 (+/-0.2) billion from the preceding quarter, and down $0.4 (+/-0.2) billion from the same quarter a year ago. The annual rate of after-tax return on stockholders` equity was 7.4 percent, compared to 12.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 1995, and 8.7 percent in the first quarter of 1995.

First quarter 1996 sales were $225.3 billion, down 34.9 billion or 13.4 (+/-1.3) percent from last quarter. First quarter sales compared to the same quarter a year ago were up $16.9 billion or 8.1 (+/-2.0) percent.

These data are based on quarterly financial reports obtained from 554 corporations. The figures in this release are not seasonally adjusted. More detailed information on the retail trade sector for the first quarter will be published in the Quarterly Financial Report for Manufacturing, Mining, and Trade Corporations--Second Quarter 1996. Second quarter 1996 advance data are scheduled for release on September 13, 1996.

EXPLANATORY NOTES:

This quarter`s publication contains data revised due to the reclassification of corporations by industry, and revisions that reflect respondents` corrections of submitted data subsequent to original publication.

A statement such as "up 2.5 (+/-0.15) cents," appearing in the text, indicates the range (+2.35 to +2.65 cents) in which the actual change is likely to have occurred. The range given for the change is a 90 percent confidence interval that accounts only for sampling variability. If the range had contained zero (0), it would have been uncertain whether there was an increase or decrease; that is, the change would not have been statistically significant. For any comparison cited without a confidence interval, the change is statistically significant. The quarterly publication includes more detailed explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability, along with additional measures of sampling variability. This report is available on the day of issue through the Department of Commerce`s on-line Economic Bulletin Board (N-8-1) (202-377-3870) and through the Census Bureau`s on-line information service--CENDATA. Further information about accessing CENDATA can be obtained from Dialog Information Services, Inc. (1-800-334-2564) and CompuServe (1-800-848-8199). The CENDATA staff at the Bureau of the Census (301-457-1214) can provide content information and general guidance. The release is also available on the Internet at this address: (http://www.census.gov/ftp/pub/csd/www/qfr.html).


TABLE 1. INCOME STATEMENT FOR RETAIL TRADE CORPORATIONS WITH ASSETS OF $50 MILLION AND OVER*
                                                     1Q       4Q       1Q
                                                   1996     1995(1)  1995(1)
                                                      (million dollars)

Net sales, receipts, and operating revenues.... 225,303  260,241  208,398
Less: Depreciation, depletion, and amortization   4,693    4,802    4,454
Less: All other operating costs and expenses... 213,395  242,283  197,066
                                                
  Income (or loss) from operations.............   7,215   13,156    6,878

Net nonoperating income (expense).............. (2,467)  (5,041)  (1,840)

  Income (or loss) before income taxes.........   4,748    8,115    5,038

Less: Provision for current and deferred         
  domestic income taxes........................   1,950    3,548    1,837
                                                 
  Income (or loss) after income taxes..........   2,798    4,567    3,201
                                                 
Cash dividends charged to retained earnings       1,078    1,070    1,295
  in current quarter...........................  
                                                 
  Net income retained in business..............   1,720    3,497    1,906
                                                 
Retained earnings at beginning of quarter......  97,916   96,891   94,705
Other direct credits (or charges) to             
  retained earnings (net)......................   (484)  (1,592)    (376)
                                                            
Retained earnings at end of quarter............  99,152   98,795   96,235

*Beginning in the fourth quarter of 1995 retail trade companies with assets of less than $250 million are being sampled on a less than 1:1 ratio. To provide comparability, data for the first quarter of 1995 have been restated to reflect this change.

(1) Revised.

SOURCE: Quarterly Financial Report for Manufacturing, Mining, and Trade Corporations--QFR-96-2.



TABLE 2. INCOME STATEMENT IN RATIO FORMAT FOR RETAIL TRADE CORPORATIONS WITH ASSETS OF $50 MILLION AND OVER*
                                                     1Q      4Q       1Q
                                                   1996    1995(1)  1995(1)
                                                          (cents)

Net sales, receipts, and operating revenues....   100.0   100.0    100.0
Less: Depreciation, depletion, and amortization     2.1     1.8      2.1
Less: All other operating costs and expenses...    94.7    93.1     94.6
                                                   
  Income (or loss) from operations.............     3.2     5.1      3.3
                                                  
Net nonoperating income (expense)..............   (1.1)   (1.9)    (0.9)
                                                  
  Income (or loss) before income taxes.........     2.1     3.1      2.4
                                                  
Less: Provision for current and deferred            
  domestic income taxes........................     0.9     1.4      0.9
                                                    
  Income (or loss) after income taxes..........     1.2     1.8      1.5
*Beginning in the fourth quarter of 1995 retail trade companies with assets of less than $250 million are being sampled on a less than 1:1 ratio. To provide comparability, data for the first quarter of 1995 have been restated to reflect this change.

(1) Revised.

SOURCE: Quarterly Financial Report for Manufacturing, Mining, and Trade Corporations--QFR-96-2.



TABLE 3. OPERATING RATIOS FOR RETAIL TRADE CORPORATIONS WITH ASSETS OF $50 MILLION AND OVER*
                                                     1Q      4Q       1Q
                                                   1996    1995(1)  1995(1)
                                                          (percent)

Annual rate of profit on stockholders` equity
  at end of period:
    Before income taxes.........................  12.53   21.31    13.64
    After income taxes..........................   7.39   11.99     8.66

Annual rate of profit on total assets:                                  
Before income taxes.........................       4.17    7.12     4.61
    After income taxes..........................   2.46    4.01     2.93

*Beginning in the fourth quarter of 1995 retail trade companies with assets of less than $250 million are being sampled on a less than 1:1 ratio. To provide comparability, data for the first quarter of 1995 have been restated to reflect this change.

(1) Revised.

SOURCE: Quarterly Financial Report for Manufacturing, Mining, and Trade Corporations--QFR-96-2.


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