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Last Updated: 09/27/17

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 Get Late Summer Boost

Michigan retailers reported a slight uptick in sales activity for August over a month ago, and 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. 

“Back-to-school sales are likely responsible for the increase,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.

The Michigan economy remains steady. Unemployment increased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent, heading up for the first time since February. But it remains below the national average of 4.4 percent and a full percentage point lower than August 2016. The rate also reflects fewer people in the state’s labor market actively seeking employment.

The Michigan Retail Index’s August survey found that while 54 percent reported sales increases over July, 33 percent recorded declines and 13 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 66.5, a healthy leap from 44.5 in July.  

While 66 percent of Michigan retailers expect sales during September-November to increase,13 percent predict a decrease and 21 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 76.6, according to the Retail Index survey, revealing retailers’ optimism for Halloween and holiday sales.

An annual survey showed that Americans will splurge $9.1 billion on Halloween costumes, candy and pumpkins this fall. That’s up 8.3 percent ($8.4 billion) from last year, according to the survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

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