Michigan Retail Index
Michigan Retail Sales Chilly in March
Michigan’s endless winter has chilled retail sales. Overall retail sales activity declined in both March and February, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
“Retail sales were lackluster in March despite a 0.3 percent drop in the state’s unemployment rate and falling gasoline prices, two factors that usually push up sales. The weather and the higher federal payroll tax were strong, cold headwinds,” said MRA President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Hallan.
The March Michigan Retail Index found that 38 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 35 percent recorded declines and 27 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 47.8, up slightly from 46.8 in February but below the important 50 mark. A year ago March it was 57.8.
Looking forward, 56 percent of retailers expect sales during April–June to increase over the same period last year, while 12 percent project a decrease and 32 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 66.8, down from 67.3 in February. A year ago March it stood at 69.