Michigan Retailers Growing More Optimistic, Reports Michigan Retailers Association

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Michigan Retailers Association

    LANSING, Mich., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- More Michigan retailers are
 projecting sales will rise over the next three months, but most don't expect
 the current economic slump will be over soon.
     Sixty-one percent of retailers expect their 2nd Quarter sales to top last
 year's figures, according to the monthly Michigan Retail Index survey, a joint
 project of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve
 Bank of Chicago.  That's the highest level of optimism since last September
 for sales during the next three-month period.
     However, when asked whether they expect the current downturn to be "short"
 or "long," 67 percent say long.
     "Retailers' optimism continues to rebound despite extremely sluggish
 sales," said Larry Meyer, MRA's CEO and a former director of the Michigan
 Department of Commerce.
     "Their level of optimism is being lifted either by recent interest rate
 reductions and increased prospects of a national tax cut, or they figure
 things can't get much worse so they have to get better."
     The Index found that 35 percent of Michigan retailers increased year-to-
 year sales during March, down from 36 percent in February.  Fifty percent
 recorded sales decreases and another 15 percent reported no change.
     The last time the Index found a majority of the state's retailers posting
 year-to-year sales gains was June of last year.
     The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of retailing in
 Michigan and the nation's largest state trade association of general
 merchandise retailers.  MRA's more than 5,500 retail business members operate
 more than 12,000 stores across the state.
 
         Michigan Retailers Association/Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
                             Michigan Retail Index
                               March 2001 results
 
               Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at
                         http://www.retailers.com/news
 
     March Activity
     Retailers reporting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory,
 prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same month a year ago
     (numbers in parentheses indicate February results)
                   % Increased    % Decreased    % No Change    Responses
     Sales            35 (36)        50 (49)        15 (15)     278 (223)
     Inventory        36 (32)        29 (31)        35 (37)     276 (223)
     Prices           26 (27)         6 ( 7)        68 (66)     277 (222)
     Promotions       25 (22)         6 ( 9)        69 (69)     276 (222)
     Hiring            9 (12)         8 ( 9)        83 (79)     276 (223)
 
     Expectations for Next 3 Months
     Retailers expecting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory,
 prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same period a year ago
     (numbers in parentheses indicate February results)
                    % Increased    % Decreased    % No Change    Responses
     Sales            61 (55)         20 (23)        19 (22)     278 (221)
     Inventory        40 (38)         23 (27)        37 (35)     278 (219)
     Prices           28 (22)          7 ( 9)        65 (69)     277 (220)
     Promotions       45 (35)          3 ( 7)        52 (58)     277 (221)
     Hiring           17 (17)          5 ( 7)        78 (75)     276 (219)
 
     March Sales Activity & Expectations for Next Three Months, by Region
     (numbers in parentheses indicate expectations for next three months)
                    % Increased        % Decreased        % No Change
     North            35 (67)             52 (14)            13 (19)
     West             35 (46)             43 (28)            22 (26)
     Central          43 (72)             42 ( 8)            15 (20)
     East             37 (70)             57 (17)             6 (13)
     Southeast        33 (63)             54 (22)            13 (15)
 
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
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SOURCE Michigan Retailers Association
    LANSING, Mich., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- More Michigan retailers are
 projecting sales will rise over the next three months, but most don't expect
 the current economic slump will be over soon.
     Sixty-one percent of retailers expect their 2nd Quarter sales to top last
 year's figures, according to the monthly Michigan Retail Index survey, a joint
 project of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve
 Bank of Chicago.  That's the highest level of optimism since last September
 for sales during the next three-month period.
     However, when asked whether they expect the current downturn to be "short"
 or "long," 67 percent say long.
     "Retailers' optimism continues to rebound despite extremely sluggish
 sales," said Larry Meyer, MRA's CEO and a former director of the Michigan
 Department of Commerce.
     "Their level of optimism is being lifted either by recent interest rate
 reductions and increased prospects of a national tax cut, or they figure
 things can't get much worse so they have to get better."
     The Index found that 35 percent of Michigan retailers increased year-to-
 year sales during March, down from 36 percent in February.  Fifty percent
 recorded sales decreases and another 15 percent reported no change.
     The last time the Index found a majority of the state's retailers posting
 year-to-year sales gains was June of last year.
     The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of retailing in
 Michigan and the nation's largest state trade association of general
 merchandise retailers.  MRA's more than 5,500 retail business members operate
 more than 12,000 stores across the state.
 
         Michigan Retailers Association/Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
                             Michigan Retail Index
                               March 2001 results
 
               Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at
                         http://www.retailers.com/news
 
     March Activity
     Retailers reporting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory,
 prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same month a year ago
     (numbers in parentheses indicate February results)
                   % Increased    % Decreased    % No Change    Responses
     Sales            35 (36)        50 (49)        15 (15)     278 (223)
     Inventory        36 (32)        29 (31)        35 (37)     276 (223)
     Prices           26 (27)         6 ( 7)        68 (66)     277 (222)
     Promotions       25 (22)         6 ( 9)        69 (69)     276 (222)
     Hiring            9 (12)         8 ( 9)        83 (79)     276 (223)
 
     Expectations for Next 3 Months
     Retailers expecting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory,
 prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same period a year ago
     (numbers in parentheses indicate February results)
                    % Increased    % Decreased    % No Change    Responses
     Sales            61 (55)         20 (23)        19 (22)     278 (221)
     Inventory        40 (38)         23 (27)        37 (35)     278 (219)
     Prices           28 (22)          7 ( 9)        65 (69)     277 (220)
     Promotions       45 (35)          3 ( 7)        52 (58)     277 (221)
     Hiring           17 (17)          5 ( 7)        78 (75)     276 (219)
 
     March Sales Activity & Expectations for Next Three Months, by Region
     (numbers in parentheses indicate expectations for next three months)
                    % Increased        % Decreased        % No Change
     North            35 (67)             52 (14)            13 (19)
     West             35 (46)             43 (28)            22 (26)
     Central          43 (72)             42 ( 8)            15 (20)
     East             37 (70)             57 (17)             6 (13)
     Southeast        33 (63)             54 (22)            13 (15)
 
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X72146729
 
 SOURCE  Michigan Retailers Association