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Last Updated: 03/23/22

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.

MRA reports retailers see rise in month-over-month sales in May

Retail sales increase for first month since February

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Retailers Association today reports that May 2022 sales increase over April. Until May, sales in Michigan have decreased, month-over-month, since February.

The May Retail Index survey came in at 55.5, an increase over April’s 52.4. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Michigan retailers reported a sales increase over April; Thirty-nine (39%) noted a decrease, and 2% reported no change.

The seasonally adjusted performance Index is conducted by Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch.

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.

“With schools out and summer break starting, we tend to notice an increase in sales over the summer months as families begin their vacations,” said William J. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

“But with inflation and extremely high gas prices, summer traffic and tourism may be affected. Retailers may see more close-to-home, or day-trips from shoppers,” said Hallan.

3-Month Outlook

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of retailers predict their sales will continue to rise through August, but 20% said they expect their sales to decline. Twenty-three percent (23%) anticipate no change. That results in a 65.6 Index rating, a slight decrease over last month’s prediction Index rating of 70.2, however, still a good indication for high sales activity in the next three months.

Higher Prices on Everyone’s Mind

The Retail Index showed the trend of rising prices among retailers. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of retailers noted an increase in price adjustments over April. Only 5% reported a decrease. Twenty-seven (27%) reported no change in adjustments.

Looking ahead, 67% expect an increase in price adjustments, no retailers expect a decrease, and 33% expect no change.

Michigan’s unemployment rate in May preliminarily came in at 4.3%, the same rate as April. In May 2021, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 6.2%.

In May 2022, the national unemployment rate has remained at 3.6% since March. Last year, the national unemployment rate was 5.8%.

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

May performance

Retailers reporting increased, decreased, or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to last month, along with May 2021 results.
Survey responses: 44

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index*
2022 2021 2022 2021 2022 2021 2022 2021
Sales 59 70 39 19 2 11 55.5 68.0
Inventory 57 49 14 21 29 30 60.6 56.5
Prices 68 38 5 3 27 59 80.2 63.9
Promotions 30 31 4 7 66 62 61.2 61.7
Hiring 18 35 11 11 71 54 50.3 59.5

Outlook for the next three months

Retailers expecting increased, decreased, or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to last month, along with May 2021 results.

% Increased % Decreased % No Change Index*
2022 2021 2022 2021 2022 2021 2022 2021
Sales 57 63 20 14 23 23 65.6 74.8
Inventory 39 49 27 20 34 31 54.4 64.6
Prices 67 45 0 7 33 48 83.6 69.0
Promotions 34 31 7 4 59 65 67.4 68.0
Hiring 23 27 7 7 70 66 57.2 59.1

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

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

% Increased % Decreased % No Change
Current 3-Month Current 3-Month Current 3-Month
North 44 78 56 22 0 0
West 77 54 23 8 0 38
Central 67 67 33 16 0 17
East 20 0 80 40 0 60
Southeast 70 70 30 20 0 10

*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, while values below 50 indicate a decrease.

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