Retailers across the state reported a small increase in sales in August over July.
A monthly activity index compiled by the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch registered a 61.2 for August, up from 59.1 the prior month.
In a monthly survey the association conducts, 64 percent of respondents reported a month-to-month increase in sales and nearly a quarter said their sales declined. The remaining 12 percent said sales remained unchanged.
“Retailers are experiencing a mild sales plateau. They’re still positive, but they aren’t increasing at the rate that we expected during the back-to-school sales period,” MRA President and CEO William Hallan said in a statement included with the August index. “With back-to-school shopping behind us, retailers now focus on the holidays. We expect the three-month prediction index number to grow for the next few months as more consumers begin buying holiday gifts.”
By category, clothing and shoes retailers reported that sales grew 42 percent, and home furnishing stores said their sales increased 23 percent. Department stores said sales grew 32 percent, according to the MRA.
In the association’s survey, 55 percent of responding retailers said they expect sales to increase through November and 26 percent expect a decline. The other 19 percent expect no change in sales through November.
Six in 10 also reported that they expect to increase prices in the next few months. That’s more than twice the rate reported in the MRA survey a year ago, which forecast price increases through the fall of 2020.