Michigan retailers upbeat

March 28, 2011
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Most Michigan retailers (62 percent) are optimistic about spring sales, following six consecutive months of sales gains over last year. That’s according to the latest Michigan Retail Index survey, conducted by Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Michigan’s improving economy continues to produce optimism within the retail industry.

While retailers recognize the economic problems still out there, such as high unemployment and a sluggish housing market, their confidence remains solid. At this point, it appears that retailers are watching rising gasoline prices with concern but don’t expect them to choke off the improvement in retail sales.

The Michigan Retail Index for February found that 43 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 35 percent recorded declines and 22 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 55.2, up from 53.3 in January.

Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in overall retail activity.

Looking forward, 62 percent of retailers expect sales during March–May to increase over the same period last year, while 9 percent project a decrease and 29 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 72.3, the same as in January.

James P. Hallan is president and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

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