Michigan Retailers Launch 2020 With “Great Start” in January

Anytime you start something new you want to get off on the right foot and for the Michigan retail community, leaders in Lansing couldn’t be happier with the launch of 2020.

According to data gathered by the Michigan Retailers Association, the retail community in Michigan reported a steep increase in sales in January, particularly as compared to numbers reported in January of 2019. That’s the latest from the Michigan Retail Index.

The January Retail Index survey came in at 72.5, which is an impressive increase from January 2019’s 42.1, and up, even, from the holiday inspired data from December 2019 when the index scored at 60.0. The seasonally adjusted performance index is conducted by the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch.

The 100-point index provides a snapshot of the state’s overall retail industry. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity, and the higher the number, the stronger the activity. January’s 72.5 number is so high because the month’s sales were much stronger than a typical January, according to a Federal Reserve spokesman.

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The January survey showed that 44-percent of respondents reported sales increases over December. Thirty-eight-percent of retailers recorded declines and 18-percent reported no change.

The Retail Index shows that 71-percent of Michigan retailers expect increased sales through April, while 13-percent are predicting a decrease, and 16-percent essentially expect no change in their sales numbers. That results in an adjusted outlook index of 73.1 – once again a solid indication for a successful spring.

William Hallan, President & CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association, says, “It’s great to start the year on a positive note,” and adds, “It’s partly due to the fact that we’ve seen a mild winter so far in 2020. Last year, retailers were dealing with the Polar Vortex, which shut down many businesses across the state for days at a time.”

Hallan also notes that consumer confidence is high as well, suggesting, “It’s higher than this time last year, when the uncertainty of tariffs and a government shutdown affected sales numbers.”

Nationally, retail sales in January increased 0.2-percent seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7-percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. Those numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

Michigan’s unemployment rate in December came in at 3.9-percent, while the national rate was at 3.6-percent.

The photo of Bill Hallan accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is courtesy of the Michigan Retailers Association.