national retail federation

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan retailers are less optimistic about this year’s holiday shopping season.

A survey by the Michigan Retailers Association finds a little more than half of its members expect their sales will be better this year.

The Michigan Retailers Index predicts about a 1.3% increase this year, that’s well below the national forecast.

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Police and prosecutors in Michigan have a new tool in their collective tool bag to help them punish shoplifters.

It's no small problem in this country. The National Retail Federation figures retailers lose upwards of $34 billion each year to retail theft or what's called "shrink." More than half of that is caused by sticky-fingered shoppers or dishonest employees, and the NRF figures that costs you up to $500 each year.

Now, shoplifters in Michigan face the prospect of prison time and fines.

Shoplifting has been moved up from a misdemeanor to a felony called "Organized retail crime" punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of $5,000, or both.

Can we expect this new law to slow down shoplifters? And what about Michigan's already-overcrowded prisons?

Jeffrey Morenoff is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It’s not Christmas yet, but Michigan retailers are in the holiday spirit. There are signs this will be the best holiday shopping season in Michigan in many years. 

When the holiday shopping season was getting started a month ago, a survey showed a majority of Michigan retailers were optimistic that they would see increased sales compared to last Christmas. The latest data is backing up that optimism.