Michigan's retailers reporting steady sales in spite of unemployment

By Frank Weir

Legal News

The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) has issued its Retail Index for May noting that retail sales in the state are holding steady in spite of slightly increased unemployment levels.

The survey is conducted by the MRA along with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

"May was a virtual replay of April and sustained that month's sales gains," said James P. Hallan, MRA president and chief executive officer. "Sales remained steady and didn't fall back to their March level."

"Retailers remain cautious about the economy and the lack of new jobs," he continued, "but falling gasoline prices should help bolster consumer spending and retailers' optimism."

The state's unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent in May to 10.3 percent.

The Michigan Retail Index for May found that 53 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 37 percent recorded declines and 10 percent saw no change.

The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 53.5, up slightly from 53.1 in April (42.9 in March).

Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in overall retail activity.

Looking forward, 42 percent of retailers expect sales during June-August to increase over the same period last year, while 16 percent project a decrease and 42 percent no change.

That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 60.5, down slightly from 60.9 in April (63.8 in March).

Sales increased across many trade lines, with apparel the largest exception. Only 30 percent of apparel retailers reported higher sales from a year ago, while 60 percent said sales declined.

Published: Mon, Jul 11, 2011

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