SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

March 23, 2011 13:39 ET

Michigan Retailers Upbeat for Spring

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - March 23, 2011) -  Most Michigan retailers (62 percent) are optimistic about spring sales, following six consecutive months of sales gains over last year. That's according to the latest Michigan Retail Index survey, conducted by Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

"Michigan's improving economy continues to produce optimism within the retail industry," said James P. Hallan, MRA president and chief executive officer. "While retailers recognize the economic problems still out there, such as high unemployment and a sluggish housing market, their confidence remains solid."

"At this point, it appears that retailers are watching rising gasoline prices with concern but don't expect them to choke off the improvement in retail sales," he added.

The Michigan Retail Index for February found that 43 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 35 percent recorded declines and 22 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 55.2, up from 53.3 in January.

Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in overall retail activity.

Looking forward, 62 percent of retailers expect sales during March-May to increase over the same period last year, while 9 percent project a decrease and 29 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 72.3, the same as in January.

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
February 2011 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at www.retailers.com/news/retailindex.html

February 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 January results)

  % Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 43 (39) 35 (38) 22 (23) 55.2 (53.3) 110 (114)
Inventory 28 (22) 30 (35) 42 (43) 50.2 (51.6) 109 (113)
Prices 29 (26) 7 (12) 64 (62) 60.9 (57.8) 109 (112)
Promotions 30 (28) 5 (7) 65 (65) 63.8 (63.6) 108 (113)
Hiring 3 (6) 9 (10) 88 (84) 48.3 (54.4) 109 (112)

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 January results)

  % Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 62 (55) 9 (15) 29 (30) 72.3 (72.3) 109 (115)
Inventory 34 (35) 17 (19) 49 (46) 53.9 (59.6) 108 (114)
Prices 37 (29) 6 (8) 57 (63) 64.5 (62.8) 108 (114)
Promotions 39 (37) 2 (3) 59 (60) 66.0 (69.0) 107 (114)
Hiring 9 (8) 8 (7) 83 (85) 49.9 (53.0) 105 (112)

February 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 31 (53) 37 (5) 32 (42)
West 45 (62) 24 (7) 31 (31)
Central 47 (69) 29 (6) 24 (25)
East 63 (37) 37 (0) 0 (63)
Southeast 37 (65) 50 (19) 13 (16)

*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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