Retailers See Positive Holidays
The Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, found that 67 percent of retailers believe their holiday sales will increase over last year, with growth averaging 4.96 percent.
Last year’s holiday sales decreased 3.2 percent for Michigan retailers, the first decline since the index was established in 1994. Stores had projected an increase of 4 percent.
“We’ve seen sales growth throughout much of this year, a trend that should continue through the holiday season,” said Larry Meyer, MRA chairman and CEO. “Two of the past three months have posted some of the best overall numbers in nearly two years.”
The National Retail Federation is projecting growth of 5.7 percent in holiday sales. Other national projections range from 3.5 percent to 7 percent.
According to the index, which is based on a monthly survey of MRA members, 42 percent of retailers increased sales in September from the same month a year ago, while 40 percent experienced declines and 18 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 53.1, up from 44.3 in August — it was the best September since 2000.
In addition, 67 percent project increased sales for October to December over the same period a year ago, while 14 percent expect declines and 19 percent predict flat sales. The results create a seasonally adjusted outlook index of 74.3, the highest in 19 months and the best for September since 1999.
Specifically in Grand Rapids, 40 percent experienced an increase in sales in September, 40 percent saw a decrease and 20 percent experienced no change. In the coming months, 67 percent forecast an increase in sales, while 27 percent see a decrease and 6 percent see no change ahead.