Retailers Optimistic For Fall

September 24, 2003
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LANSING — Michigan retailers continue to project better fall sales over last year despite losing some momentum during August.

Projections for sales growth remain at their highest point since May 2002, although August sales slipped after a strong surge in July, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

According to the MRI, which is based on a monthly survey of MRA members, 64 percent of retailers forecast increased sales for September-November over the same period a year ago, while 14 percent expected declines and 22 percent predicted flat sales. The results create a seasonally adjusted outlook index of 71.4, which is the same as in July.

Forty percent of retailers increased sales in August from the same month a year ago, while 44 percent experienced sales declines and 16 percent reported no change.

“Although August sales failed to maintain the momentum of July’s surge, retailers remain optimistic for fall sales,” said Larry Meyer, MRA chairman and CEO. “August’s performance was in line with national figures showing cautious consumers did much of their back-to-school shopping at large, discount stores rather than across the industry. Sales at apparel stores fell off significantly.”           

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