SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

September 29, 2016 09:46 ET

Michigan Retailers Improve Outlook for Autumn, According to MRA

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - September 29, 2016) - Michigan retailers' autumn sales forecasts rose modestly following sluggish sales growth in August, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Retailers' three-month projections moved up 6 points on the 100-point, seasonally adjusted index to return to June's level after a dip in July.

August sales moved up 5 points to 50.8, but barely broke into positive territory. Still, that appeared better than other states. U.S. retail sales fell 0.1 percent in August, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

"Consumer spending slowed across the nation," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. "Moving into autumn, we expect more positive retail numbers. Consumers have caught their breath now after a buying spree, and the underlying positives of the Michigan economy -- including lower unemployment and lower gasoline prices -- should push up sales."

The August Michigan Retail Index survey found 40 percent of Michigan retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 42 percent recorded declines and 18 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 50.8, up from 45.7 in July. A year ago August the performance index stood at 43.9.

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 Bank of Chicago's Detroit branch. 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 12 percent project a decrease and 32 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 71.6, up from 65.6 in July. A year ago August, the outlook index stood at 68.

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 2016 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
% DecreasedNo Change Index*Responses
Sales40 (46)42 (36)18 (18)50.8 (45.7)72 (92)
Inventory32 (35)17 (21)51 (44)60.5 (57.2)72 (92)
Prices  7   (8)  6   (4)87 (88)49.5 (50.6)72 (92)
Promotions22 (17)  6   (8)72 (75)59.9 (55.3)71 (90)
Hiring14 (19)12 (14)74 (67)50.7 (53.4)72 (91)
      

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
Sales56 (53)12 (20)32 (27)71.6 (65.6)72 (92)
Inventory35 (45)29 (22)36 (33)53.5 (57.7)72 (91)
Prices19 (20)  3   (2)78 (78)57.9 (58.5)70 (92)
Promotions48 (35)  3   (6)49 (59)70.0 (67.7)71 (91)
Hiring22 (12)17 (15)61 (73)52.0 (49.3)71 (90)
      

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 (46)46 (31)15   (23)
West44 (60)32   (8)24   (32)
Central50 (87)37   (0)13   (13)
East50   (0)  0   (0)50  (100)
Southeast24 (53)62 (14)14    (33)
    

*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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