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Christmas week ice storm knocked out holiday sales for Michigan retailers

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
Last minute Christmas shoppers in Jackson, Michigan (file photo)

A new report shows the major winter storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders last month also hurt late Christmas sales.

About a half million Michiganders spent part of Christmas week in the dark after an ice storm cut a swath through the state.

Tom Scott is with the Michigan Retailers Association.  He says the Dec. 22 storm robbed many stores of last-minute Christmas shoppers.

“To have power outages all over the state, we had stores closed, people without any electricity in their homes, we had snow and cold weather everywhere – that was pretty dismal,” says Scott.

Scott says Michigan retailers report only a .1% increase in Christmas sales this year, well below the 1.3% forecast.

The latest Michigan Retail Index showed 38% of retailers increased sales during the holiday season and 41% experienced declines. 21% reported flat sales.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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