Michigan Retailers Association: Holiday Shoppers Started Before Thanksgiving

Marketwired

LANSING, MI--(Marketwire - Nov 29, 2012) - Michigan retailers began the traditional Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday shopping season with a head of steam caused by shoppers starting their gift buying early, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The state's retail industry boosted its performance in October, setting the stage for what's expected to be a solid holiday season, the latest monthly survey of MRA members found. 

"After a lull in September, sales rose for more Michigan retailers in October," said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. "Others' surveys point to early holiday shopping as a likely reason for the rise. More than half of consumers reported having started their holiday shopping well in advance of the Thanksgiving weekend."

Three out of four Michigan retailers expect to increase sales this holiday season, many by more than 5 percent, according to the Index's September survey. Their forecasts are the most optimistic in more than a decade.

The October Michigan Retail Index found that 47 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 34 percent recorded declines and 19 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 59.4, up from 54.0 in September. A year ago October it was 58.3.

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, 57 percent of retailers expect sales during November - January to increase over the same period last year, while 17 percent project a decrease and 26 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 72.1, down from 76.8 in September. A year ago October it was 64.4.

Note: William Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, can be reached at 312.322.8151.

Michigan Retail Index
October 2012 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html

October Performance
Retailers reporting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same month a year ago
(numbers in parentheses indicate September results)

                     
    % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change   Index*   Responses
Sales   47 (42)   34 (37)   19 (21)   59.4 (54.0)   89 (115)
Inventory   43 (43)   18 (17)   39 (40)   56.8 (60.4)   87 (115)
Prices   29 (30)   7 ( 5)   64 (65)   60.5 (60.9)   88 (115)
Promotions   28 (32)   5 ( 3)   67 (65)   59.3 (66.5)   88 (115)
Hiring   11 (18)   6 (10)   83 (72)   52.4 (54.3)   88 (115)
                     

Outlook for Next 3 Months
Retailers expecting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same period a year ago
(numbers in parentheses indicate September results)

                     
    % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change   Index*   Responses
Sales   57 (59)   17 (16)   26 (25)   72.1 (76.8)   88 (115)
Inventory   30 (38)   25 (23)   45 (39)   57.6 (62.3)   87 (113)
Prices   26 (31)   5 ( 4)   69 (65)   62.4 (63.6)   87 (115)
Promotions   40 (38)   2 ( 4)   58 (58)   67.2 (66.3)   87 (115)
Hiring   11 (11)   6 ( 5)   83 (84)   53.4 (52.2)   87 (114)
                     

October Sales Performance & Outlook for Next 3 Months, by Region
(the first number indicates sales performance for the month; the number in parentheses indicates outlook for the next three months) 

             
    % Increased   % Decreased   % No Change
North   33 (43)   48 (19)   19 (38)
West   48 (52)   26 (22)   26 (26)
Central   67 (75)   11 ( 0)   22 (25)
East   37 (25)   50 (37)   13 (38)
Southeast   56 (80)   32 ( 8)   12 (12)
             

Question of the Month
Compared to last year, when did you start (or plan to start) your holiday promotions?

               
  Much Earlier   0.0%   Later   3.9%
  Earlier   6.5%   Much Later   0.0%
  Same   89.6%        
               

*Seasonally adjusted diffusion index. A diffusion index, which is the sum of the percent of respondents indicating increase and half the percent indicating no change, is calculated and then seasonally adjusted using the U.S. Census Bureau's X-11 Seasonal Adjustment procedure. Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in activity, while values below 50 indicate a decrease.

Contact:

Tom Scott
517.372.5656
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