Michigan retailers’ sales and forecasts on the upswing

LANSING — Michigan retailers’ sales rebounded in June and expectations remained strong for the rest of summer, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Most retailers saw sales increase in June after a dip in May. The current-sales component of the Index jumped up 16.5 points to 63.9, which represents the second highest mark of the year.

“June’s sales growth is welcome news and points to continued improvement in the economy,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. “While consumer spending has fluctuated from month to month this year, the overall trend is upward.”

The June survey of MRA members showed 53 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 28 percent recorded declines and 19 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 63.9, up from 47.4 in May. A year ago June, the performance index stood at 66.7.

The 100-point index gauges the performance of the state’s overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA; the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.

Looking forward, 61 percent of retailers expect sales during July-September to increase over the same period last year, while 8 percent project a decrease and 31 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 74.4, up from 73 in May. A year ago June, the outlook index stood at 69.5.

William Strauss is a senior economist and economic advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He can be reached at (312) 322-8151.

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