On This Page

The Michigan Retail Index is a monthly broad-based gauge of key retail activity in Michigan. A new index is released by the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) on the fourth Wednesday of each month. The index is based on a monthly survey of MRA members. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago assists in collecting, compiling and interpreting the survey data.

Last Updated: 09/29/16

Michigan Retail Index

Michigan Retailers Improve Outlook for Autumn

Michigan retailers’ sales and forecasts both rose modestly following sluggish sales growth in August, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index survey, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

August sales moved up 5 points to 50.8, but barely broke into positive territory. Still, that appeared better than other states. U.S. retail sales fell 0.1 percent in August, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

“Consumer spending slowed across the nation,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. “Moving into autumn, we expect more positive retail numbers.”

The August Michigan Retail Index survey found 40 percent of Michigan retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 42 percent recorded declines and 18 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 50.8, up from 45.7 in July. A year ago August the performance index stood at 43.9.

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 Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.

Looking forward, 56 percent of retailers expect sales during September–November to increase over the same period last year, while 12 percent project a decrease and 32 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 71.6, up from 65.6 in July. A year ago August, the outlook index stood at 68.