Published in Small Business

Retailers report higher June activity, but ‘seesaw’ expected in months ahead

BY Thursday, July 30, 2020 02:37pm

More than half of Michigan retailers had higher sales in June from the prior month and expect about the same sales volume through the summer and into fall, according to a recent survey.

The monthly retail index from the Michigan Retailers Association said 42 percent of respondents had lower sales in June, 3 percent reported no change and 55 percent reported a sales increase.

The results came amid a “very rainy spring that dampened tourism and sales overall,” the MRA said.

The report for June was the MRA’s first since the lifting of executive orders that closed or limited the operations of retailers for weeks. Retail stores in Northern Michigan began to reopen for Memorial Day weekend and on June 4 in the rest of the state.

The 42.1 retail activity index for June that resulted from the monthly survey by the MRA and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago compares to a 30 in May.

“Retail activity is bound to be a seesaw for the next few months due to the pandemic,” MRA President and CEO Bill Hallan said in a new release. “Back-to-school sales typically give many stores a boost at this time of year, but with the uncertainty of in-classroom teaching and with parents stocking up on other items for distance learning, we’ll have to wait and see how retail is affected.”

Looking ahead, 42 percent of retailers said they expect sales to increase in the next three months while 37 percent expect sales to decrease. The remaining 21 percent “don’t think things will change.” 

The expectations resulted in an a 53.3 index for the industry’s outlook, or about even with June activity.

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