SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

September 16, 2015 15:14 ET

Michigan Retailers Fall Forecasts Stay Strong Despite August Sales Dip

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - September 16, 2015) - Michigan retailers' sales forecasts remain strong for fall despite a drop in August sales, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The retail industry's overall sales performance fell in August to its lowest level in six months, but retailers' three-month forecasts remain solidly positive.

"The consensus is that the late dates for Labor Day and the reopening of schools ended up pushing some normal August spending into September," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.

"Retailers' sales forecasts remain positive, and further declines in gasoline prices should boost retail sales."

The August survey of MRA members showed 37 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 42 percent recorded declines and 21 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 43.9, down from 65.3 in July. A year ago August the performance index stood at 46.

The 100-point 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, 59 percent of retailers expect sales during September-November to increase over the same period last year, while 22 percent project a decrease and 19 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 68.0, down slightly from 69.7 in July. A year ago August the outlook index stood at 70.6.

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 2015 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 ChangeIndex*Responses
Sales37 (59)42 (20)21 (21)43.9 (65.3)62 (73)
Inventory32 (36)24 (26)44 (38)56.7 (54.7)63 (73)
Prices15 (7)6 (10)79 (83)53.2 (46.9)62 (73)
Promotions20 (24)13 (6)67 (70)54.2 (60.0)64 (71)
Hiring9 (14)8 (17)83 (69)51.5 (46.9)64 (72)
      

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 ChangeIndex*Responses
Sales59 (56)22 (16)19 (28)68.0 (69.7)64 (71)
Inventory52 (32)26 (29)22 (39)63.6 (48.2)63 (72)
Prices17 (23)5 (4)78 (73)56.3 (60.3)63 (73)
Promotions53 (37)5 (7)42 (56)74.0 (66.8)64 (72)
Hiring21 (16)17 (7)62 (77)50.6 (55.6)63 (73)
      

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 
North39 (54)38 (38)23 (8) 
West30 (50)35 (28)35 (22) 
Central56 (67)33 (22)11 (11) 
East67 (67)33 (0)0 (33) 
Southeast28 (63)55 (11)17 (26) 
     

*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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