SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

February 23, 2012 09:33 ET

Michigan Retailers Association: Solid Expectations for 2012 Sales

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - Feb 23, 2012) - Coming off a positive 2011 and good holiday season, Michigan retailers are looking for an even stronger 2012. Ninety percent expect to increase annual sales, with most projecting increases of 5 percent or more, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

"Michigan retailers are optimistic," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. "They are looking at improvements in the economy and seeing that translate into better consumer spending and retail sales -- a quarter of them believe their own sales will rise by double-digit percentages."

The industry's overall sales performance increased in January, setting a course for what retailers hope will be continued improvement throughout the year.

The Michigan Retail Index for January found that 48 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 32 percent recorded declines and 20 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 63.8, up from 59.1 in December and 63.2 in November. It was best showing since November 2010.

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, 57 percent of retailers expect sales during February-April to increase over the same period last year, while 9 percent project a decrease and 34 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 78.0, up from 71.8 in December and 75.8 in November.

Nationally, the U.S. Commerce Department said sales rose by 0.4 percent in January, but 0.7 percent excluding autos -- the largest gain since last March.

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
January 2012 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html

January 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 December results)

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 48 (43) 32 (35) 20 (22) 63.8 (59.1) 88 (125)
Inventory 22 (25) 29 (28) 49 (47) 58.9 (57.1) 87 (123)
Prices 26 (27) 10 (10) 64 (63) 58.5 (60.2) 86 (123)
Promotions 24 (28) 9 (4) 67 (68) 60.2 (60.3) 87 (123)
Hiring 8 (6) 4 (8) 88 (86) 57.2 (51.1) 85 (123)

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 December results)

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 57 (46) 9 (18) 34 (36) 78.0 (71.8) 88 (125)
Inventory 32 (21) 21 (24) 47 (55) 57.1 (58.3) 87 (121)
Prices 26 (30) 4 (5) 70 (65) 62.8 (61.5) 87 (121)
Promotions 35 (31) 2 (3) 63 (66) 68.3 (67.2) 87 (121)
Hiring 16 (7) 1 (5) 83 (88) 59.6 (54.9) 87 (119)

January 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 29 (35) 47 (24) 24 (41)
West 35 (50) 40 (0) 25 (50)
Central 54 (77) 23 (8) 23 (15)
East 57 (43) 43 (28) 0 (29)
Southeast 56 (76) 20 (4) 24 (20)

Question of the Month
What is your current projection for your percentage sales increase (or decrease) in 2012?

Average +18%
Increase more than 10% 25% No change 8%
Increase 5-10% 41% Decrease 2%
Increase 0.1-4.9% 24%

* 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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