The majority of retailers in the state are bullish on sales for this year after a strong 2011 and encouraging January, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index.
Forty-eight percent of retailers increased sales in January year over year, according to the index, a joint project of the Michigan Retailers Association and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
An additional 32 percent of retailers reported declines in January sales, and 20 percent said they saw no change.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Commerce said sales rose 0.4 percent in January or 0.7 percent excluding autos, yielding the largest gain since last March.
From the state retailers’ monthly results, the Michigan Retail Association and Federal Reserve determine a seasonally adjusted performance index that serves as a gauge of the performance of the state’s retail industry. Index values above 50 generally reflect stronger consumer purchasing activity.
January’s results created a seasonally adjusted performance index of 63.8, up from 59.1 in December and 63.2 in November, marking the best results since November 2010, the two organizations said.
Increased sales are spurring optimism among Michigan retailers.
Ninety percent said they expect to increase annual sales this year, with most projecting increases of 5 percent or more, according to the Michigan Retail Index.
Sherri Welch, Crain’s Detroit