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Michigan Retailers Association: Early Season Holiday Shopping Proved Strong

Note: December Numbers and the Results of the Holiday Shopping Season in Michigan Will Not Be Available Until January 23, 2013

LANSING, MI -- (Marketwire) -- 12/27/12 -- While the results of the 2012 holiday shopping season in Michigan aren't yet known, sales remained solid through November, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The state's retail industry boosted its performance and optimism slightly in November after a strong October that gave retailers a head of steam going into the traditional Thanksgiving to Christmas shopping season.

The November Michigan Retail Index found that 43 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 30 percent recorded declines and 27 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 60.2, up from 59.4 in October. A year ago November it was 63.2.

The Index gauges the performance of the state's overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.

Looking forward, 47 percent of retailers expect sales during December - February to increase over the same period last year, while 18 percent project a decrease and 35 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 72.8 in November, up slightly from 72.1 in October. A year ago November it was 75.8.

Note: William Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, can be reached at 312.322.8151.

Michigan Retail Index
November 2012 results
Index figures dating to July 1994 are available at http://www.retailers.com/mra/news/michigan-retail-index.html

November Performance
Retailers reporting increased, decreased or unchanged sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring compared to the same month a year ago
(numbers in parentheses indicate October results)

              % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change  Index*       Responses
Sales         43 (47)      30 (34)      27 (19)      60.2 (59.4)  66 (89)
Inventory     38 (43)      17 (18)      45 (39)      57.4 (56.8)  66 (87)
Prices        26 (29)      6 (7)        68 (64)      60.8 (60.5)  66 (88)
Promotions    33 (28)      8 (5)        59 (67)      58.8 (59.3)  66 (88)
Hiring        4 (11)       8 (6)        88 (83)      50.5 (52.4)  65 (88)

Outlook 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 October results)

              % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change  Index*       Responses
Sales         47 (57)      18 (17)      35 (26)      72.8 (72.1)  66 (88)
Inventory     25 (30)      26 (25)      49 (45)      58.1 (57.6)  65 (87)
Prices        29 (26)      5 (5)        66 (69)      63.7 (62.4)  65 (87)
Promotions    31 (40)      5 (2)        64 (58)      67.6 (67.2)  65 (87)
Hiring        8 (11)       12 (6)       80 (83)      51.2 (53.4)  65 (87)

November Sales Performance & Outlook for Next 3 Months, by Region
(the first number indicates sales performance for the month; the number in parentheses indicates outlook for the next three months)

              % Increased  % Decreased  % No Change
North         41 (35)      24 (24)      35 (41)
West          53 (53)      20 (27)      27 (20)
Central       57 (57)      14 (14)      29 (29)
East          17 (17)      50 (16)      33 (67)
Southeast     47 (65)      47 (6)       6 (29)

*Seasonally adjusted diffusion index. A diffusion index, which is the sum of the percent of respondents indicating increase and half the percent indicating no change, is calculated and then seasonally adjusted using the U.S. Census Bureau's X-11 Seasonal Adjustment procedure. Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in activity, while values below 50 indicate a decrease.

Tom Scott
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