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First Data: November card spending growth solid


Atlanta -- Dollar volume growth remained solid at 5.8% in November, down from 6.7% in October, according to the First Data SpendTrend analysis for the full month of November 2012 compared with November 2011. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.

The growth was considered healthy as November 2011 was a strong month with dollar volume growth of 7.3%, according to First Data. The growth significantly weighted to spending at retailers during the latter half of the month. Although Black Friday retail spending was weaker this year with growth at 8.3% compared to 9.7% last year, overall November dollar volume growth still performed well.

Most retail segments experienced healthy year-over-year dollar volume growth. Overall retail dollar volume growth was 5.6%, a three-month high and a significant jump, compared with the 3.5% growth in October. Year-over-year average ticket growth was -0.2% in November, down from October’s growth of 0.8%. Retail average ticket growth of 2.0% remained relatively stable, which reflects the strengthening position of retail as some merchants are less inclined to drive sales at the expense of margins.

“At first glance, it appears that spending growth is healthy heading into the holiday season,” said Rikard Bandebo, VP and economist, First Data. “However, November 2012 was among the slower growth months this year, so retailers may begin to engage in more competitive pricing to attract shoppers as the holiday season progresses.”

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