Retailers Look To A Better Year

December 29, 2003
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LANSING — Optimism among Michigan retailers is at it highest level in four years, despite a falloff in sales for November that was preceded by two months of solid gains.

“Retailers’ projections for December and the start of the new year indicated they believe November’s drop is only temporary and growth will resume,” said Larry Meyer, chairman and CEO of the Michigan Retail Association (MRA).

The Michigan Retail Index found in November that more retailers were anticipating increased sales in the next three months — the most optimistic projection since late 1999.

The retail index, which is compiled by the MRA and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, indicated that 54 percent of retailers in the state projected higher year-to-year sales for December through February, while 22 percent expected declines and 24 percent predicted flat sales.

The results create a seasonally adjusted outlook index of 81.4, up from 74.8 in October and the best since the outlook index of 83.4 in December 1999.

Some 38 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month a year ago, while 47 percent saw declines and 15 percent reported no change.

The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 47.2, down from 53.7 in September.

The MRA is the country’s largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers, with nearly 6,000 retail business members operating more than 13,000 stores statewide.           

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