SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

August 22, 2012 16:17 ET

Michigan Retailers: Retail Sales and Forecasts Slip

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - Aug 22, 2012) - Fewer Michigan retailers increased sales and forecasts in July for the second consecutive month, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

"The performance of Michigan's overall retail industry slipped from June to July, chiefly because more retailers reported flat sales in July," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. "The broader picture, however, remains one of year-to-year growth."

Michigan's unemployment rate has risen the past three months, from 8.3 in April to 9.0 in July, contributing to the falloff in retail sales performance the past two months, Hallan said. "As we've said all along, we must see sustained improvement in our state's jobs picture before we'll see significant and sustained improvement in retail sales."

The July Michigan Retail Index found that 43 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 32 percent recorded declines and 25 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 56.1, down from 58.6 in June and 61.9 in May. A year ago July it was 53.6.

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, 42 percent of retailers expect sales during August-October to increase over the same period last year, while 14 percent project a decrease and 44 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 67.4, down from 71.9 in June and 77.5 in May. A year ago July it was 74.5.

Northern Michigan retailers led the state in July with 58 percent of the regional group reporting sales increases over July 2011. Gifts stores and apparel stores throughout the state rang up the best numbers among the various trade lines.

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

July 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 June results)

                     
    % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change   Index*   Responses
Sales   43 (50)   32 (33)   25 (17)   56.1 (58.6)   114 (103)
Inventory   28 (40)   28 (15)   44 (45)   51.7 (63.4)   113 (101)
Prices   35 (26)   4 (5)   61 (69)   64.6 (60.0)   113 (100)
Promotions   27 (32)   8 (4)   65 (64)   61.2 (63.5)   112 (101)
Hiring   15 (12)   10 (7)   75 (81)   51.8 (51.0)   113 (101)
                     

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 June results)

                     
    % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change   Index*   Responses
Sales   42 (58)   14 (17)   44 (25)   67.4 (71.9)   114 (103)
Inventory   35 (33)   14 (17)   51 (50)   62.1 (56.3)   113 (100)
Prices   25 (25)   2 (2)   73 (73)   61.7 (61.4)   112 (100)
Promotions   27 (36)   3 (2)   70 (62)   61.6 (65.9)   113 (100)
Hiring   14 (9)   9 (5)   77 (86)   52.2 (52.3)   113 (100)
                     

July 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   58 (38)   21 (8)   21 (54)        
West   37 (33)   33 (20)   30 (47)        
Central   57 (57)   21 (14)   22 (29)        
East   25 (42)   50 (25)   25 (33)        
Southeast   29 (54)   46 (13)   25 (33)        
                     

Question of the Month
Do you use Pinterest as part of your marketing via social media?
Yes 8.8% No 91.2%

*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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