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Last Updated: 06/27/18

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.

Retail sales solid for 2018, despite slight June dip

Forty-three percent of respondents in a monthly retail survey said their 2018 sales are up from what they projected at the year’s beginning, while 36 percent said they were down, and 20 percent are holding steady.

“That shows retailers in Michigan are having a solid year so far,” said James P. Hallan, President and CEO of Michigan Retailers Association, which conducts the monthly Retail Index survey in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch.

In June, 49 percent of respondents reported sales increases over May, the survey showed. Forty-three percent of retailers recorded declines in June and 8 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 46.1, down from the 61.4 performance index reported in May, one of the stronger sales months of the year so far. A year ago, the Retail Index was 60.1.

“We’re crossing our fingers that back-to-school sales, which typically start in late July, will be a big boost for stores for the next couple months,” Hallan said.

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 Retail Index shows that 62 percent of Michigan retailers expect strong sales through September, while 6 percent predict a decrease and 32 percent expect no change. That results in an adjusted outlook index to 74.9 – a good sign for a strong finish to summer, according to the Retail Index survey.

Michigan’s economy remains steady and strong. The jobless rate fell half a percentage point from May to June, standing at 4.5 percent. The national rate is 4 percent. A year ago in Michigan, it was 4.4 percent.

According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, June 2018 sales tax receipts increased 4 percent from June 2017 and were $19.5 million above the forecasted level. Fiscal year-to-date sales tax collections through June 2018 were up 1.9% from fiscal year 2016-17 and $8.4 million above the forecasted level.

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