Michigan Retailers Report Low February Sales, Mirroring January

Retail Index logo

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Retailers Association today reports that February 2024 sales performed moderately, landing at 48.0 on the 100-point Retail Index. The January 2024 Retail Index also came in at 48.0, indicating a flat retail economy.

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.

Forty-two percent noted an increase over January sales, forty-nine percent of Michigan retailers surveyed reported a sales decrease and nine percent reported no change.

“Sales for 2024 have so far been flat, hitting the same mark in January and February. The immediate post-holiday season numbers are typically soft, as weather warms, we are expecting shopping to heat up as well,” said William J. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association. “Retailers have strong levels of product on shelves, and are increasing promotional activities to bring customers into their stores and websites.”

Three-Month Optimism Rises

When asked to predict their 3-month sales outlook, seventy-four percent (74%) of retailers predicted their sales will continue to rise through April, and fifteen percent (15%) said they expect their sales to decline. Eleven percent (11%) anticipate no change. That results in a 67.3 Index rating, an increase from last month’s prediction Index rating of 63.6 – a prediction of strong summer sales in Michigan.

“Spring and summer vacations are on the horizon for many Michiganians, and with that comes the need for new clothing, shoes and other travel essentials. We encourage folks making those purchases to Buy Nearby to help keep their money in Michigan.”

Supply Chain

Retailers were asked as part of the Index the status of their supply chain. A majority of retailers reported their supply chain has returned to pre-pandemic timing.

Unemployment Rates

The national unemployment rate rose to 3.9% over January. Last year, the national unemployment rate was 3.6%. The unemployment rate for Michigan has not been announced for February. Last year, the rate came in at 3.8%.