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Basic Bee LLC at 325 S. Division Ave. SE in Grand Rapids. Basic Bee LLC at 325 S. Division Ave. SE in Grand Rapids. MIBIZ FILE PHOTO

Retailers report higher sales in November compared to 2020

BY Wednesday, December 22, 2021 07:02pm

Retailers had better sales in November compared to the same period in recent years, a statewide trade group reported Wednesday. 

Respondents to a retail index survey reported that their sales during Thanksgiving weekend this year were higher than in 2020 and pre-pandemic in 2019, according to the Michigan Retailers Association

The November retail index — a measure of sales activity — came in at 69.1, which was slightly down from October’s 70.7, according to the survey. Retail index numbers above 50 are generally considered positive. Sixty percent of retailers reported a sales increase while 29 percent reported a sales decrease and 11 percent reported no change during November.

“Shoppers have stepped up to support their local stores this year,” William Hallan, president and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association, said in a statement. “They’ve noticed their local stores navigating through numerous new regulations, safety protocols, and supply chain and shipping delay woes and are showing up to their stores to shop local businesses first. It’s nice to see, especially during the holidays.”

A little more than half of survey respondents in Michigan predict their sales will continue to rise through February, but 26 percent said they think their sales will decline. About 20 percent are expecting no changes.

Alyson Presser, marketing manager of Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, told MiBiz in a November interview that more people have been returning to in-person shopping at the mall. 

“Shoppers are becoming more accustomed to going to public places,” Presser said. “A lot of the retailers still wear masks, have sanitizing stations and some stores have mask requirements posted on their door so everybody is informed. Shoppers are coming back.” 

The National Retail Federation expects shoppers will continue to buy through December, even though consumers started their holiday shopping “earlier than ever” this year, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in the Michigan Retailers Association’s announcement. He expects demand to remain strong throughout the end of the year.

Nationally, retail sales in November were up just 0.3 percent over October, but sales rose 18.2 percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The National Retail Federation reported that a total of 180 million Americans shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, exceeding predictions.

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