SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

September 26, 2013 11:14 ET

Michigan Retailers Association Says Retail Sales and Outlook Slip on Way to Fall

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - Sep 26, 2013) - Michigan retailers tempered their fall sales projections after August sales grew at a much slower pace, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

While there were more retailers reporting sales increases than decreases in August, the spread narrowed from July and from a year ago August. Retailers' forecasts for the next three months followed suit.

"We're back to the roller-coaster pattern of strong sales one month and a falloff the next," said James P. Hallan, MRA president and CEO.

"It's hard to achieve consistency in this economy, especially when the state unemployment rate has risen the past three months and is back up to 9 percent."

The August Michigan Retail Index found that 47 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 39 percent recorded declines and 14 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 52.8, down from 63.9 in July. A year ago August it was 61.7.

The Index gauges the performance of the state's overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.

Looking forward, 56 percent of retailers expect sales during September-November to increase over the same period last year, while 15 percent project a decrease and 29 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 70.3, down from 82.0 in July. A year ago August it stood at 67.7.

At the national level, August retail sales excluding autos, gasoline and building materials rose only 0.2 percent, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Consumer confidence declined.

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
August 2013 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html

August 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 July results)

           
  % Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 47 (53) 39 (31) 14 (16) 52.8 (63.9) 93 (115)
Inventory 28 (35) 26 (29) 46 (36) 50.9 (55.1) 93 (112)
Prices 24 (21) 5  (11) 71 (68) 58.0 (53.3) 94 (112)
Promotions 28 (32) 5  (5) 67 (63) 62.6 (66.9) 93 (111)
Hiring 17 (7) 4  (8) 79 (85) 57.7 (48.9) 94 (113)
           

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 July results)

           
  % Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 56 (62) 15 (13) 29 (25) 70.3 (82.0) 93 (114)
Inventory 33 (42) 25 (21) 42 (37) 54.3 (59.8) 93 (112)
Prices 22 (17) 2   (12) 76 (71) 59.3 (52.8) 93 (112)
Promotions 48 (39) 1   (6) 51 (55) 74.4 (67.5) 93 (112)
Hiring 17 (13) 4   (8) 79 (79) 56.8 (52.0) 91 (112)
           

August 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 60 (47) 27 (20) 13 (33)    
West 54 (42) 25 (8) 21 (50)    
Central 34 (75) 58 (25) 8   (0)    
East 31 (54) 46 (15) 23 (31)    
Southeast 38 (65) 54 (17) 8   (18)    
           

*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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