Michigan Retailers Report Dec. Sales Rise Over Nov.

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December retail sales index up year-over-year

Michigan Retailers Association today reports that December 2023 sales rose for the first time since September, landing at 47.1 on the 100-point Retail Index. Sales increased over November 2023’s Index value of 41.0. Last December, the Retail Index came in at 41.2.

Forty-one percent (41%) noted an increase over November sales, forty-three percent (43%) of Michigan retailers surveyed reported a sales decrease and 16% reported no change.

The 100-point Index provides a snapshot of the state’s overall retail industry. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity, the higher the number, the stronger the activity. The seasonally adjusted performance Index is conducted by Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch.

“December was a growth month for many of Michigan’s retailers thanks to holiday shopping,” said William J. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association. “Our local retailers need months like December to keep their businesses open and growing. January and February can be tough months for small retailers, and by choosing to shop locally, we not only invest in products, but also in dreams, fostering a thriving ecosystem where every purchase becomes a catalyst for growth and prosperity.”

Three-Month Optimism Up Moderately

When asked to predict their 3-month sales outlook, twenty-nine percent (29%) of retailers predicted their sales will continue to rise through March, and 46% said they expect their sales to decline. Twenty-five percent (25%) anticipate no change. That results in a 54.7 Index rating, an increase from last month’s prediction Index rating of 50.0, and a year-over-year drop from 57.6 in 2022.

“Over the last year, retailers have experienced a roller coaster of ups and downs. Shopping locally isn’t just a transaction; it makes a difference in our communities and neighborhoods.”

Unemployment Rates

The national unemployment rate remained at 3.7% over November. Last year, the national unemployment rate was 3.5%. The unemployment rate for Michigan has not been announced for December 2023. Last year, the rate came in at 4.3%.