Holiday retail sales report

Michigan retailers report that sales during the just-completed holiday season were “positive” and better than last year, even though they did not meet pre-season expectations. A new survey from the Michigan Retailers Association found that a strong December made up for a slow start in November, as retailers posted an average year-to-year sales improvement of 1.1 percent. That was slightly below an average pre-season prediction of 1.6 percent, but still better than a less than one-percent gain during the entire holiday season in 2013.  M-R-A spokesman, Tom Scott, says December was the best month since July, helped by sharply lower gasoline prices, lower unemployment and moderate weather. Scott says 52-percent of retailers they surveyed reported holiday sales increases, while 23-percent recorded flat sales and 25-percent posted sales declines. Scott says while sales were less than expected in Michigan, it was improvement compared to “horrible” sales reported by the National Retail Federation. He also adds overall 2014 sales in Michigan were positive. Looking forward, according to the survey, 49 percent of Michigan retailers expect short-term sales to increase over the next three months, while 22 percent project a decrease and 29 percent no change.   (MRN)

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