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Last Updated: 08/24/17

Michigan Retail Index

The Michigan Retail Index is a monthly gauge of key retail activity in Michigan based on a monthly survey of Michigan Retail Association members. A new index is released by MRA on the fourth Wednesday of each month. The index tracks year-to-year increases or decreases in retail sales, inventory, prices, promotional efforts and hiring. It also indicates retailers’ forecasts in these areas for the next three months.

Download the survey's  historical data.

Michigan Retail Sales Down Slightly in July

Michigan retailers reported a slight drop in sales activity for July over a month ago, but they’re optimistic that the next three months will be better, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

“We’re hoping we’ll see an uptick in the August numbers once back-to-school sales numbers are reported for Michigan,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.

Numbers are mixed for the Michigan economy, with unemployment and sales tax receipts headed in the right direction. July unemployment fell to 3.7 percent in Michigan — below the national rate of 4.3 percent. But the drop in the rate reflects fewer people in the state’s labor market actively seeking employment, according to Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

The Michigan Retail Index survey for June found that while 49 percent reported sales increases over June, 42 percent recorded declines and nine percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 44.5, down from 60.1 in June and 45.9 in July 2016.

A recent poll released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows parents and students are procrastinating on back-to-school shopping. Of parents surveyed August 1-9, only 13 percent had completed all their shopping, and 23 percent had not started at all. 

Looking forward, while 64 percent of Michigan retailers expect sales during August-October to increase, 15 percent predict a decrease and 21 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 73, according to the Retail Index survey.

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