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Last Updated: 11/28/17

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 Report Increased October Sales

Michigan retailers say their sales rose during October compared to September numbers, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

This comes on the heels of initial reports that holiday online sales over the Thanksgiving weekend could break records, while brick and mortar stores held their own.

“All signs are good for a great holiday shopping season,” said MRA president and chief executive officer James P. Hallan. “With an extra shopping day this year and Christmas scheduled to fall on a Monday, consumers will have more chances than usual to get their shopping done.”

Likely reasons for the October sales boost: The National Retail Federation had predicted that Halloween sales would increase 8.3 percent to $9.1 billion in October. Also, the NRF said many consumers are starting to do their holiday shopping in late October.

The Michigan Retail Index’s October survey found that while 57 percent reported sales increases over September, 30 percent recorded declines and 13 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 65.9 up from the September performance index of 43.7.  

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.

While 55 percent of Michigan retailers expect sales during November-January to increase, 16 percent predict a decrease and 29 percent no change. That keeps the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 75.7, according to the Retail Index survey, continuing retailers’ optimism.

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