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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Future Strong Sales Predicted

Bolstered by a growing economy, Michigan retailers are projecting strong sales in the months ahead, based on a new monthly survey from the Michigan Retailers Association.

The MRA’S Michigan Retail Index survey in January found 79% of retailers expect sales growth in 2015, with the increases averaging two-point-four percent. The results compare with 58% of retailers projecting 2014 sales growth averaging one-point-four percent. However, by the end of 2014, 57% of Michigan retailers had reported actual gains averaging 1%.

MRA President and CEO, Jim Hallan, says the 2015 projections follow a strong December and weaker, but still positive, January. He says retailers are upbeat this year because they see the state’s economy continuing to improve and add jobs.

Forty-nine percent of MRA members last month reported increased sales over the same month last year, which created a seasonally adjusted performance index of 60. That was down from 66.5 in December, but far above a 42.5 reading in January of 2014. The 100-point index gauges the performance of the state’s overall retail industry. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity.

Short term optimism also continued to improve among the state’s retail industry in January, with 67% of MRA members expecting sales to increase during the February to April period. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 76.2 in January, up from 68 in December. A year ago January the outlook index stood at 58.5.

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