SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

February 23, 2011 15:30 ET

Most Michigan Retailers Expect 2011 Sales Growth

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - February 23, 2011) - More than three of every four Michigan retailers (76 percent) expect their 2011 sales to grow, with the largest group projecting gains of less than 5 percent, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index survey conducted by Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Forty percent of respondents said they expect their sales to rise less than 5 percent, while 31 percent peg their gains at 5 to 10 percent and 5 percent expect double-digit growth. Fourteen percent predict flat sales and 10 percent believe their sales will decline.

The forecasts follow a January with positive sales, but at a lower level from a November and December that made up the best holiday shopping season in more than a decade.

"Retailers continue to see Michigan's economy improving, but their forecasts remain tempered by such factors as high unemployment and the sluggish housing market," said James P. Hallan, MRA president and chief executive officer. "At this point, they believe 2011 will be a good year, not necessarily a great year."

The Michigan Retail Index for January found that 39 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 38 percent recorded declines and 23 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 53.3, down from 61.9 in December. It was the best January since 2006. A year ago January, the sales performance index was 49.9.

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

Looking forward, 55 percent of retailers expect sales during February - April to increase over the same period last year, while 15 percent project a decrease and 30 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 72.3, down from 77.2 in December. It was the best January figure since 2004. A year ago January, the sales outlook index stood at 61.8.

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

January 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 December results)

  % Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 39 (48) 38 (34) 23 (18) 53.3 (61.9) 114 (128)
Inventory 22 (28) 35 (28) 43 (44) 51.6 (57.0) 113 (128)
Prices 26 (24) 12 ( 9) 62 (67) 57.8 (58.8) 112 (128)
Promotions 28 (35) 7  ( 7) 65 (58) 63.6 (61.3) 113 (128)
Hiring 6  ( 8) 10 (11) 84 (81) 54.4 (50.1) 112 (128)

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 December results)

  % Increased % Decreased % No Change Index* Responses
Sales 55 (48) 15 (14) 30 (38) 72.3 (77.2) 115 (130)
Inventory 35 (21) 19 (27) 46 (52) 59.6 (55.0) 114 (129)
Prices 29 (30) 8  ( 5) 63 (65) 62.8 (63.0) 114 (129)
Promotions 37 (34) 3  ( 4) 60 (62) 69.0 (68.3) 114 (128)
Hiring 8  ( 7) 7  ( 8) 85 (85) 53.0 (54.5) 112 (128)

January 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 43 (48) 43 (28) 14 (24)  
West 31 (67) 26 (11) 43 (22)  
Central 53 (40) 20 ( 0) 27 (60)  
East 25 (38) 62 (12) 13 (50)  
Southeast 41 (63) 52 (15) 7  (22)  

Question of the Month
What is your current projection for your percentage sales growth in 2011?

 > +10% +5% to 10% 0.1% to 4.9% 0%  Negative Growth  
 5% 31% 40% 14% 10%  

*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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