Mich. retail sales up after rough winter

LANSING — Michigan took a leap in the right direction, with a large increase in retail sales in March, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch.

The Michigan Retail Index’s March survey found that 60 percent of respondents reported sales increases over February, 30 percent recorded declines and 10 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 64.3, a large increase from the 42.2 performance index reported in February. A year ago, the Retail Index was 57.4.

Michigan beat the national numbers, which grew by 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over February.

“It’s good to see that consumer confidence won out over Michigan’s unseasonable weather in March,” said James P. Hallan, President and CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

The 100-point index provides a snapshot of the state’s overall retail industry. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.