SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

April 25, 2007 16:01 ET

Michigan Retailers' Sales Forecasts Hold Steady

LANSING, MI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 25, 2007 -- The number of Michigan retailers forecasting better late-spring sales held steady following a small uptick in sales during March, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

"An early Easter and a touch of warm weather helped push up sales in March," said Larry Meyer, MRA chairman and CEO.

"While the increase was not dramatic, any positive movement is welcome in this difficult economy. Looking ahead, retailers are holding firm on their forecasts for slightly improved sales during the next three months."

National retail sales, excluding autos, rose 0.8 percent in March, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

The Michigan Retail Index showed that 43 percent of retailers increased sales in March over the same month last year, while 38 percent recorded declines and 15 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 49.0, up from 46.9 in February.

In addition, 49 percent believe their sales will increase for April-June, while 20 percent forecast declines and 26 percent project no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted outlook index of 57.1, little changed from 57.7 in February.

The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of retailing in Michigan and the nation's largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers.

Note: William Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, can be reached at 312.322.8151.

Michigan Retailers Association/Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Michigan Retail Index
March 2007 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at
www.retailers.com/news/retailindex.html


March 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 February results)

            % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change  Index*       Responses
Sales       43 (36)      38 (40)      15 (18)      49.0 (46.9)  146 (183)
Inventory   30 (33)      20 (23)      44 (34)      47.1 (52.0)  142 (176)
Prices      28 (26)       8 (10)      55 (57)      52.7 (53.5)  138 (181)
Promotions  35 (24)       6 ( 6)      51 (59)      60.8 (53.8)  140 (173)
Hiring      11 ( 9)      16 (12)      66 (67)      43.0 (43.6)  141 (171)


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 February results)

            % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change  Index*       Responses
Sales       49 (47)      20 (19)      26 (28)      57.1 (57.7)  144 (183)
Inventory   23 (29)      28 (20)      42 (42)      39.3 (44.7)  141 (177)
Prices      23 (32)       9 ( 6)      57 (54)      48.9 (57.0)  135 (180)
Promotions  34 (37)       8 ( 4)      44 (49)      55.2 (59.3)  131 (176)
Hiring      15 (12)      13 ( 8)      62 (71)      44.0 (46.3)  137 (177)


March 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       21 (30)         52 (26)         22 (44)
West        43 (62)         27 (19)         24 (10)
Central     41 (44)         44 (22)          7 (22)
East        71 (86)         29 (14)          0 ( 0)
Southeast   49 (49)         38 (17)         13 (31)

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