Retailers Hope For Big Finish

    LANSING — Michigan retailers are hoping that last weekend, traditionally the biggest of the season, will propel them toward a happy holiday season.

    State retailers’ holiday sales via credit and debit cards are up more than 8 percent over last year, according to the Michigan Retailers Association.

    “Sales have been solid so far and about what the retail industry projected going into the season,” said Larry Meyer, MRA chairman and CEO. “A big weekend could turn it into a good season.”

    MRA’s figures are based on same-store credit and debit card sales for the 20 days after Thanksgiving this year and last year. Allowing for a 3 percent to 4 percent rise in the use of credit and debit cards over cash and checks means actual sales are up by 4 percent to 5 percent, Meyer said.

    Retailers were projecting a 5 percent increase for the holiday period.

    Meyer said this year’s holiday sales appear to be following the trend of recent years: a strong start followed by a slowing and then a strong finish. Credit and debit card sales for the season were up 11.5 percent for the first weekend, 11.2 percent through the first two weekends and 8.5 percent through the third weekend.    

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