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Last Updated: 07/17/24

Michigan Retail Index

The Michigan Retail Index is a monthly gauge of key retail activity in Michigan based on a monthly survey of Michigan Retail Association members. A new index is released by MRA on the fourth Wednesday of each month. The index tracks year-to-year increases or decreases in retail sales, inventory, prices, promotional efforts and hiring. It also indicates retailers’ forecasts in these areas for the next three months.

Download the survey's historical data.

Michigan Retailers’ June Sales Down from May

Index number still below positive threshold

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Retailers Association today reports that June 2024 sales dropped from May, landing at 43.3 on the 100-point Retail Index. The May 2024 Retail Index came in at 47.4.

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 May sales, 49% of Michigan retailers surveyed reported a sales decrease and 9% reported no change.

“June's drop is a clear signal that Michigan's retail sector is facing some challenges. While 42% of retailers did see an increase in sales, the overall decrease in the Index highlights the variability and unpredictability in consumer behavior and spending," said William J. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

Three-Month Optimism Ticks Upward

When asked to predict their sales outlook for the next three months, 55% of retailers predicted their sales will continue to rise through September, and 17% said they expect their sales to decline. Twenty-eight percent anticipate no change. That results in an Index rating of 66.0, an increase over May’s 63.0.

“We’re still seeing numbers below the 50-positive threshold, as many consumers are tightening up their spending habits to save money. Even while being conservative with their pocketbooks, it’s important to note that each purchase at a local retailer is injected back into the local economy in the form of wages, added jobs, and a boost in the gross economic output,” said Hallan.

Back-to-School Shopping Already Begun

The National Retail Federation reports that as of early July, 55% of back-to-school shoppers have already begun buying items for the upcoming school year. Forty-five percent of shoppers with items remaining say they are waiting for the best deals and another 45% say they do not know what is needed yet. Total spending for back-to-school is expected to reach $38.8 billion, down from 2023’s record high of $41.5 billion.

Unemployment Rates

The national unemployment rate in June rose to 4.1%, over May’s 4.0%. Last year, the national unemployment rate was 3.6%. The unemployment rate for Michigan has not been announced for June. Last year, the rate came in at 3.7%.

Breakdowns of the current, three-month, and regional results are attached.

June performance

Retailers reporting increased, decreased, or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to last month, along with June 2023 results.
Survey responses: 43

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index*
2024 2023 2024 2023 2024 2023 2024 2023
Sales 4250 49 34 9 16 43.356.0
Inventory 19 23 35 29 46 48 46.348.6
Prices 21 35 12 9 67 56 55.0 65.0
Promotions 21 16 10 12 69 72 58.7 50.9
Hiring 14 23 10 13 76 64 48.5 52.2

Outlook for the next three months

Retailers expecting increased, decreased, or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to last month, along with June 2023 results.

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index*
2024 2023 2024 2023 2024 2023 2024 2023
Sales 55 53 17 13 28 34 66.0 70.8
Inventory 31 37 29 16 40 47 46.7 64.1
Prices 31 38 7 3 62 59 62.5 70.8
Promotions 38 34 5 6 57 60 69.4 67.2
Hiring 3 10 24 13 73 77 44.0 54.2

June sales performance and outlook for the next three months, by region

The first number indicates sales performance for the month; number in parentheses indicates outlook for the next three months.

% Increased % Decreased % No Change
Current 3-Month Current 3-Month Current 3-Month
North 62 75 25 12 13 13
West 13 75 87 12 0 13
Central 43 43 57 14 0 43
East 50 20 33 40 17 40
Southeast 33 45 56 22 11 33

*Seasonally adjusted diffusion index. A diffusion index, the sum of the % of respondents indicating increase and half the % indicating no change, is calculated, and then seasonally adjusted using the U.S. Census Bureau’s X-11 Seasonal Adjustment procedure. Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in activity. Values below 50 indicate a decrease.

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