Michigan Retailers’ Sales Rise Over April

Retail Index logo

Index number still below positive threshold

Michigan Retailers Association today reports that May 2024 sales rose over April, landing at 47.4 on the 100-point Retail Index. The April 2024 Retail Index came in at 42.5.

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-one percent noted an increase over April sales, forty-three percent of Michigan retailers surveyed reported a sales decrease and 16 percent reported no change.

“This is the positive momentum at the beginning of summer we’d like to see continue,” said William J. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

Three-Month Optimism Falls Slightly

When asked to predict their sales outlook for the next three months, fifty-five percent (55%) of retailers predicted their sales will continue to rise through August, and twenty-four percent 24%) said they expect their sales to decline. Twenty-one percent (21%) anticipate no change. That results in an Index rating of 63.0, a drop from April’s 67.3, but still a positive indication for summer spending.

Survey respondents are given the chance to leave an open-ended response. While some anonymous entries were positive, we also received:

  • “Wholesale costs continue to rise and some customers are choosing to shop less expensive shopping alternatives.”
  • “Retail gets harder and harder.”
  • “This has been the worst first half of the year we have ever experienced…”
  • “I am adjusting my inventory and running my business like it is 2008.”

“Although the Retail Index value grew over April, it’s still below our 50-positive threshold, and should be a rallying cry to consumers to support their nearby stores. Retailers are facing numerous challenges regarding inflation and price adjustments; Your purchases go a long way,” said Hallan.

Unemployment Rates

The national unemployment rate in May rose to 4.0%, over April’s 3.9%. Last year, the national unemployment rate was 3.7%. The unemployment rate for Michigan has not been announced for May. Last year, the rate came in at 3.6%.