SOURCE: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers Association

May 24, 2017 14:37 ET

Retail sales remain positive in Michigan

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - May 24, 2017) - Michigan retailers expect more of the same after posting positive retail sales during April, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

More than half of retailers posted year-over-year sales increases during April and nearly three-quarters expect gains through mid-summer.

"Our index has been in positive territory the past three months, up significantly since January's slow start to the year," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.

"Consumers are responding to the good spring weather and Michigan's economy continues to show improvement. The state's unemployment rate fell by three percentage points last month."

The Michigan Retail Index survey for April found 51 percent of the state's retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 32 percent recorded declines and 17 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 54.5, down from 57.4 in March but still above the important 50 mark.

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 Bank of Chicago's Detroit branch. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.

Looking forward, 72 percent of Michigan retailers expect sales during May-July to increase over the same period last year, while 11 percent project a decrease and 17 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 74.3, down from 84.0 in March but well above the 50 level.

Nationally, retail sales excluding autos and gasoline, rose by 0.3 percent in April, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

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 2017 results
(2016 Index figures are available at https://www.retailers.com/news-events/michigan-retail-index/)

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
Sales  51 (43)  32 (34)  17 (23)  54.5 (57.4)  66 (67)
Inventory  44 (33)  21 (19)  35 (48)  54.1 (54.1)  66 (67)
Prices  15 (8)  6 (9)  79 (83)  53.2 (48.4)  66 (65)
Promotions  22 (17)  1 (4)  77 (79)  60.1 (56.8)  66 (66)
Hiring  15 (9)  5 (2)  80 (89)  55.0 (55.1)  64 (64)

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
Sales  72 (80)  11 (5)  17 (15)  74.3 (84.0)  65 (64)
Inventory  48 (49)  23 (23)  29 (28)  56.5 (55.5)  65 (65)
Prices  20 (27)  4 (1)  76 (72)  57.4 (62.6)  67 (67)
Promotions  50 (46)  2 (3)  48 (51)  73.9 (69.8)  67 (67)
Hiring  32 (34)  5 (2)  63 (64)  59.6 (63.3)  67 (67)

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
North  46 (77)  31 (15)  23 (8)
West  58 (84)  21 (0)  21 (16)
Central  10 (56)  50 (11)  40 (33)
East  0 (100)  100 (0)  0 (0)
Southeast  65 (60)  35 (20)  0 (20)

*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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