Retailers Remain Cautiously Optimistic


    LANSING — Michigan retailers remain cautiously optimistic for sales growth in the 2nd quarter, following a boost in overall sales performance during March — the industry’s best showing since last summer.

    The findings are contained in the monthly Michigan Retail Index survey, a joint project of the Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

    For the April-June period, 53 percent expect to increase sales from the same period last year, while 18 percent forecast declines and 29 percent project flat sales. The results create a seasonally adjusted outlook index of 61.0, which is virtually unchanged from 61.2 in February.

    The monthly sales performance index for March rose to its highest level since last August. Thirty-four percent of retailers increased sales from the same month a year ago, while 55 percent experienced declines and 11 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 39.2, up from 34.3 in February and the best since 40.1 last August.

    “Although economic uncertainties remain, the positives include the end of the war in Iraq and warmer weather that can unleash pent-up consumer demand,” said Larry Meyer, MRA chairman and CEO.           

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