SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

May 20, 2015 13:00 ET

Michigan Retailers Remain Upbeat

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - May 20, 2015) - Michigan retailers' sales forecasts remain strong for late spring and early summer, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

More than two of every three retailers (67 percent) in the state expect to increase sales over last year during the May-July period, said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.

The upbeat forecasts follow a solid April in which 66 percent reported sales as good or better than a year ago April. Most, 51 percent, said sales were better.

"An improving economy marked by a falling unemployment rate has been boosting retailers' sales and forecasts," Hallan said.

"MRA's statewide Buy Nearby campaign and communities' shop-local initiatives also appear to be having a positive effect. We believe consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of spending their dollars at stores and websites located in Michigan."

The April monthly survey of MRA members showed 51 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 34 percent recorded declines and 15 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 57.6, down from 66.8 in March but still above the key 50 mark. A year ago April the performance index stood at 51.1.

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, 67 percent of retailers expect sales during May-July to increase over the same period last year, while 11 percent project a decrease and 22 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 74.7, down from 76.9 in March. A year ago April the outlook index stood at 73.9.

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
April 2015 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html.

  
  
April 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 March results) 
  
 % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change   Index*  Responses 
Sales51 (55) 34 (25) 15 (20) 57.6 (66.8) 68 (88)
Inventory41 (32) 19 (21) 40 (47) 55.2 (57.4) 68 (87)
Prices16 (14) 4 (14) 80 (72) 54.8 (49.1) 68 (87)
Promotions28 (30) 2 (2) 70 (68) 66.3 (66.7) 67 (86)
Hiring10 (12) 8 (14) 82 (74) 51.3 (49.1) 67 (84)
               
               
               
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 March results) 
  
 % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change   Index*  Responses 
Sales67 (68) 11 (9) 22 (23) 74.7 (76.9) 67 (87)
Inventory47 (50) 23 (17) 30 (33) 57.4 (60.4) 66 (87)
Prices22 (23) 6 (4) 72 (73) 57.2 (60.0) 67 (88)
Promotions42 (45) 0 (3) 58 (52) 69.6 (69.1) 65 (89)
Hiring29 (35) 3 (3) 68 (62) 62.4 (63.1) 68 (87)
               
               
  
April 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 
North53 (87)20 (13)27 (0)
West72 (57)21 (7)7 (36)
Central67 (67)33 (16)0 (17)
East75 (75)25 (0)0 (25)
Southeast36 (59)50 (11)14 (30)
       
       
 
Question of the Month
 
Are customers able to use wi-fi in your store for their cell phones or tablets?
Yes No 
43% 57% 
    

*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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