DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s looking like more of us kept our money right here at home for the holidays.

The Michigan Retail Index showed positive numbers in November, as sales pushed the Index up for the fifth straight month to its highest point of the year.

The group was predicting a 6 percent gain over last year’s holiday sale’s figures, but Michigan Retailers Association President Jim Hallan expects it to be even higher.

“We’re in the field right now doing the survey data and from the people I talked to, I think we’re even going to exceed six percent, which is stronger than the national numbers and is good for Michigan. It reflects a good competence, a good feeling in Michigan, so we’re pleased,” said Hallan.

Hallan said retailers are optimistic that when all the numbers are added up, the 2011 holiday shopping season will turn out to be a good one — and it should be as several factors aligned at the right time.

“Gasoline has been stable, the weather cooperated, we didn’t have any snow storms that took us out of the mix, unemployment is down and there’s just kind of a general sense that Michigan is on the right track and is coming out of the dark days we were in a couple of years ago,” said Hallan.

The Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 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.

The Michigan Retail Index for November found that 49 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 31 percent recorded declines and 20 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 63.2, up from 58.3 in October, 57.9 in September, 55.9 in August and 53.6 in July.

The final numbers on Michigan’s holiday shopping season won’t be out until the end of January.


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