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Michigan Retailers Optimistic
LANSING — Roughly six of 10 retailers in the state believe their holiday sales will rise above last year’s figures, according to the Michigan Retail Index.
Those merchandisers who projected an increase said sales would rise by an average of 7 percent, a higher number than national forecasts.
“Retailers’ forecasts for the holiday season are a mix of optimism and caution. Coming off a tough third quarter, fewer retailers are projecting holiday sales growth, but the average increase is higher,” said Larry Meyer, chairman and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association, which produces the retail index as a joint venture with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The index, which was released late last month, revealed that 63 percent expected a sales increase for the six-week holiday selling season, while 31 percent felt sales would be flat. Six percent predicted a decline in sales.
Overall retail sales in Michigan during the 2003 holiday season climbed by 5 percent to 6 percent. But the index recorded the average retailer’s gain at less than 1 percent, meaning spending was far from uniform.
Nationally, the National Retail Federation has projected an overall sales growth of 4.5 percent and the International Council of Shopping Centers forecast a sales rise of 3 percent to 4 percent.