Michigan retailers remain upbeat for fall

LANSING – Most Michigan retailers are forecasting improved sales for fall, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The August index showed, for the seventh consecutive month, that a majority of retailers expect year-over-year gains for the next three-month period.

August sales retreated after an exceptionally strong June and July, but retailers’ forecasts remained solid, according to the index.

The August survey of MRA members showed 38 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 42 percent recorded declines and 20 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 46.0, down from 74.9 in July. A year ago August the Index stood at 52.8.

The 100-point Index gauges the performance of the state’s overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.

Looking forward, 54 percent of retailers expect sales during September–November to increase over the same period last year, while 14 percent project a decrease and 32 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 70.6, down from 76.7 in July. A year ago August the Index stood at 70.3.

Note: William Strauss, senior economist and economic advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, can be reached at 312.322.8151.