Michigan Retailers Report Decrease in April Sales

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Michigan Retailers Association today reports that April 2024 sales dropped slightly, landing at 42.5 on the 100-point Retail Index. The March 2024 Retail Indexes came in at 44.3.

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.

Thirty-nine percent noted an increase over March sales, fifty-three percent of Michigan retailers surveyed reported a sales decrease and eight percent reported no change.

“We’ve found our way back in the roller coaster effect of sales as seasons change. Although not atypical to see, it makes predicting a sales forecast harder,” said William J. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

Three-Month Optimism Increases

When asked to predict their sales outlook for the next three months, sixty-seven percent (67%) of retailers predicted their sales will continue to rise through July, and twenty percent (20%) said they expect their sales to decline. Thirteen percent (13%) anticipate no change. That results in a 67.3 Index rating, an increase from last month’s prediction Index rating of 63.7, and a hopeful sign for summer spending.

“We hope to see Michiganders’ tourism dollars in action as the school year ends and vacations begin.”

Grad Gifts Expected to Uplift Spending

According to data from the National Retail Federation, gift spending for graduates will reach $6.1 billion, down from the $6.4 billion record in 2023. Thirty-four percent of consumers will be purchasing gifts for grads, and the predicted top-gifted item is cash, with 52% of consumers choosing to give it.

Unemployment Rates

The national unemployment rate rose a notch to 3.9% over March (3.8%). Last year, the national unemployment rate was 3.4%. The unemployment rate for Michigan has been preliminarily announced as 3.9% for March. Last year, the rate came in at 3.6%.