Whence do US Retail Sales Come?

Today’s piece comes from the Wall Street Journal. It looks at US retail and foodservice spending through different types of stores.

Retail sales by store type
Retail sales by store type

I take issue with a few things, firstly the tree map. Because it’s not really a tree map. Another thing I am not keen on is the comparison feature in the piece. The user can select up to three types of stores to compare. And while the result works in the line chart—three lines—the bar chart devolves into a near useless component. There is no easy way to compare the actual lengths of the individual bars short of mousing over and scribbling down each individual datapoint. In the particular case here, I likely would have changed from bars to line. Because that way I can compare the actual magnitude of each store type.

Credit for the piece goes to Dan Hill.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

Leave a Reply