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FirstData: Year-over-year retail dollar volume growth on Thanksgiving and Black Friday a healthy 5.6%

Atlanta -- Year-over-year retail dollar volume growth on Thanksgiving and Black Friday was healthy at 5.6% as many retailers started the holiday shopping season earlier this year and consumers welcomed the opportunity to find bargains, according to a study by First Data Corp.’s First Data SpendTrend analysis for Black Friday 2012 compared with Black Friday 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.)

Retail category performance varied considerably with building material, garden equipment and supply dealers, and clothing and clothing accessories stores being the top performers. Average ticket growth at retailers swung from negative (-0.9%) in 2011 to positive (+1.9%) in 2012 over the Thanksgiving to Black Friday period. Shoppers boosted their overall spend and retailers shifted discounting strategies. The rise in average tickets reflect the strengthening position of retail as some merchants may have less of an incentive to drive sales at the expense of profits.

“Holiday spending got off to a strong start as consumers were attracted by retailers' efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving and expanding shipping and layaway options,” said Rikard Bandebo, VP and economist, First Data. “Even though spending was not quite as strong on the East Coast, spending in hurricane-struck areas was still healthy and consumer confidence has been strong.”

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