DETROIT (WWJ) – With summer vacation dwindling down, this weekend may find parents and kids at the mall looking for back-to-school sales.

And while the July “Michigan Retail Index Survey” cited 48 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 36 percent recorded declines and 16 percent saw no change. The seasonally adjusted performance index soared to over 53-percent, which means general improvement in overall retail activity.

Tom Scott of the Michigan Retailers Association said the numbers are surprising, given the debt limit and Wall Street turmoil last month, which normally indicates “uncertainty” for retailers.

“Furniture and appliance retailers did well, jewelers did well, and those certainly aren’t back-to-school retailers. So, you know, it wasn’t totally across the board, but it was in some areas that you might not expect. So that, again, is another positive.”

Scott also said retailers recorded their highest level of optimism for the year last month.

“So but steady improvement in July, and then we actually had a big jump in the level of optimism among retailers for sales for the next three months. So taken together, it’s a pretty optimistic, pretty positive report for July.”

Scott said the numbers in the study are based on a survey of more than 100 of their participating members.

Looking forward, 59 percent of retailers expect sales during August–October to increase over the same period last year, while 15 percent project a decrease and 26 percent no change.