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First Data: Retail spending rises 1.6% in first quarter

It’s one quarter into 2018 and spending is showing healthy signs of growth.

That’s according to global payment technology company First Data, which analyzed real transactions at 1.3 million merchant locations for e-commerce and in-store in the United States. Retail spend was up 1.6% year-over-year in the first quarter. Total spending (including retail and non-retail categories) in the first quarter grew 4.8%, making it the best of the last four quarters.

Other year-over-year first quarter findings include:

• Total spending across brick-and-mortar grew 3.2%, a notable figure given recent store closings. E-commerce spending grew 8.7%.

• Online accounted for 28.2% of total retail spend in the first quarter, up from 25.9% in the year-ago period.

• Luxury retail saw steady growth at 3.8%. It was the strongest in the mid-Atlantic region at 7.5% — almost twice the rate of the total U.S. — while nearby New England saw sales growth decline -0.8%.

• Quick-service restaurants saw strong growth in 2017 and the trend has continued into 2018 with 6.8% growth. Conversely, upscale dining struggled significantly during the last three quarters, with overall spending grow dropping to -1.7% in the first quarter.
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