SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

August 24, 2011 15:49 ET

Michigan Retail Sales and Forecasts Rise

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - Aug 24, 2011) - More Michigan retailers improved their sales in July, as well as their expectations for the rest of summer and early fall, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index survey conducted by Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The future-outlook portion of the Index rose by nearly 11 points, while current performance rose by 1.5 points.

"It appears that hot weather and cooling gas prices in July helped retail sales," said James P. Hallan, MRA president and chief executive officer. "And retailers were more optimistic, despite the prolonged debt-ceiling debate in Congress and mixed economic news at the global, national and state levels."

Nationally, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that retail sales climbed 0.5 percent for the month, the best in four months. Michigan's results were the best since February.

The Michigan Retail Index for July found that 48 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 36 percent recorded declines and 16 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 53.6, up from 52.1 in June and the best since 55.2 in February.

Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in overall retail activity.

Looking forward, 59 percent of retailers expect sales during August-October to increase over the same period last year, while 15 percent project a decrease and 26 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 74.5, up from 63.7 in June and the highest of the year.

Furniture and appliance retailers, department and variety stores, and jewelers reported the strongest sales.

Note: William Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, can be reached at 312.322.8151.

Michigan Retail Index
July 2011 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html

July Performance
Retailers reporting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same month a year ago
(numbers in parentheses indicate June results)

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 48 (42) 36 (34) 16 (24) 53.6 (52.1) 106 (91)
Inventory 25 (27) 29 (38) 46 (35) 51.1 (44.4) 104 (88)
Prices 31 (36) 7 (9) 62 (55) 62.1 (62.9) 105 (89)
Promotions 31 (34) 11 (8) 58 (58) 61.4 (62.0) 105 (89)
Hiring 15 (13) 6 (9) 79 (78) 54.2 (49.7) 106 (89)

Outlook for Next 3 Months
Retailers expecting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same period a year ago
(numbers in parentheses indicate June results)

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 59 (45) 15 (18) 26 (37) 74.5 (63.7) 106 (91)
Inventory 32 (27) 22 (24) 46 (49) 57.6 (49.1) 104 (88)
Prices 36 (34) 4 (8) 60 (58) 66.3 (61.5) 105 (89)
Promotions 43 (36) 4 (6) 53 (58) 71.3 (62.9) 104 (89)
Hiring 14 (11) 3 (7) 83 (82) 56.1 (52.0) 106 (90)

July Sales Performance & Outlook for Next 3 Months, by Region
(the first number indicates sales performance for the month; the number in parentheses indicates outlook for the next three months)

% Increased % Decreased % No Change
North 46 (46) 42 (27) 12 (27)
West 54 (71) 25 (0) 21 (29)
Central 36 (64) 50 (14) 14 (22)
East 17 (33) 83 (17) 0 (50)
Southeast 56 (67) 26 (11) 18 (22)

*Seasonally adjusted diffusion index. A diffusion index, which is the sum of the percent of respondents indicating increase and half the percent indicating no change, is calculated and then seasonally adjusted using the U.S. Census Bureau's X-11 Seasonal Adjustment procedure. Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in activity, while values below 50 indicate a decrease.

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