Holiday retail sales betterPublished 9:06pm Wednesday, February 1, 2012
LANSING — Two-thirds of Michigan retailers rang up better holiday sales, with most retailers boosting sales by more than 5 percent, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
“It was a good holiday season, and the second consecutive year of positive holiday results,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan.
“Sales were strongest early in the season and remained positive throughout — we would have been surprised if the final numbers had been different than they turned out.”
Michigan retailers went into the season more bullish than national forecasts.
On average, the state’s retailers projected a 6-percent gain over the previous year.
While the final average was a 4-percent gain, 53 percent of retailers improved sales by more than 5 percent, and 13 percent by 0.1 to 5 percent.
Nationally, the U.S. Commerce Department said sales rose by 0.4 percent in November and 0.1 in December.
The National Retail Federation said a narrower category it defined as “holiday sales” grew by 4.1 percent.
The Michigan Retail Index for December found that 43 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 35 percent recorded declines and 22 percent saw no change.
The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 59.1, down from 63.2 in November but up from 58.3 in October.
The Index gauges the performance of the state’s overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.
Looking forward, 46 percent of retailers expect sales during January–March to increase over the same period last year, while 18 percent project a decrease and 36 percent no change.
That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 71.8, down from 75.8 in November.