SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

October 29, 2014 15:44 ET

Michigan Retailers' Holiday Sales Forecasts Blend Optimism and Caution

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - Oct 29, 2014) - Michigan retailers expect better holiday sales this year, their forecasts a blend of optimism and caution, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

While 63 percent project better holiday sales over last year, the average of all retailers' projections comes to +1.6 percent. Nearly a third (28 percent) expect their sales to increase more than 5 percent and 35 percent anticipate their sales will rise 5 percent or less.

"Taken as a whole, these individual forecasts reflect the type of year Michigan's retail industry has experienced: overall progress with a bumpy ride along the way," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.

"It's no surprise to see retailers projecting better holiday sales, but showing restraint in their projections."

Nationally, retail organization economists are forecasting holiday spending to increase about 4 percent.

The Michigan Retail Index found improved sales for September. The monthly survey of MRA members showed 53 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 35 percent recorded declines and 12 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 62.1, up sharply from 46.0 in August. A year ago September the Index stood at 52.8.

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, 60 percent of retailers expect sales during October-December to increase over the same period last year, while 18 percent project a decrease and 22 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 73.6, up from 70.6 in August. A year ago September the Index stood at 76.3.

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
September 2014 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html

September 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 August results)

  % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change   Index*   Responses
Sales 53 (38)   35 (42)   12 (20)   62.1 (46.0)   103 (74)
Inventory 31 (29)   27 (27)   42 (44)   48.5 (51.8)   103 (73)
Prices 25 (15)   3 ( 5)   72 (80)   60.4 (53.2)   103 (74)
Promotions 28 (27)   9 ( 3)   63 (70)   59.0 (62.9)   102 (74)
Hiring 25 (15)   8 (12)   67 (73)   57.2 (52.1)   102 (74)

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 August results)

  % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change   Index*   Responses
Sales 60 (54)   18 (14)   22 (32)   73.6 (70.6)   105 (74)
Inventory 29 (34)   24 (24)   47 (42)   55.6 (55.1)   105 (74)
Prices 22 (18)   6 ( 4)   72 (78)   58.4 (56.4)   103 (74)
Promotions 48 (33)   4 ( 3)   48 (64)   71.0 (64.1)   105 (73)
Hiring 20 (15)   12 ( 3)   68 (82)   54.9 (56.1)   104 (72)

September 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 50 (60)   44 (30)   6 (10)
West 58 (46)   23 (23)   19 (31)
Central 50 (63)   44 ( 6)   6 (31)
East 44 (22)   56 (33)   0 (45)
Southeast 48 (78)   33 ( 7)   19 (15)

Question of the Month
What is your current sales projection for the holidays, compared to last year?

Increase Sales   Increase Sales   No   Decrease Sales   Decrease Sales
More than 5%   5% or less   Change   5% or less   More than 5%
28% of respondents   35%   22%   5%   11%
    Average sales projection: +1.6%    

*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.

Contact Information