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comScore: Green Monday expected to top potentially heaviest online spending week ever

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — For the holiday season-to-date, $26.6 billion has been spent online, up 13% versus the corresponding days last year, according to comScore. The firm predicts that Green Monday (Monday, December 10, 2012) is likely to be one of the heaviest online spending days of the season and a headliner for what is expected to the busiest online spending week on record.

The most recent week saw three individual days eclipse $1 billion in spending – Monday, Dec. 3 ($1.117 billion), Tuesday, Dec. 4 ($1.362 billion) and Wednesday, Dec. 5 ($1.051 billion) – bringing the total number of billion dollar spending days for the season to seven.

“Despite posting three consecutive billion-dollar spending days and five in excess of $950 million, this past week saw a noticeable softening in e-commerce momentum as growth rates dipped into single-digits after beginning the season in the mid-teens,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “However, we expect this lull to be a temporary effect having more to do with the extended shopping calendar this year with two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, rather than weakening consumer fundamentals. This upcoming week led by Green is likely to be the heaviest online spending week in history with a realistic chance of delivering five billion-dollar days.”

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First Data: November card spending growth solid

BY Marianne Wilson

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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Casey’s Q2 profit down

BY Marianne Wilson

Ankey, Iowa — Casey’s General Stores Inc.’s reported Monday that its net income declined nearly 13% in its fiscal second quarter on lower sales of gasoline, groceries and cigarettes.

Casey’s made $32.9 million in the quarter ended Oct. 31, down from $37.6 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 7.2% to $1.91 billion. Same-store sales of gasoline fell 0.4%, while sales of merchandise dropped 0.7%. Cigarette sales were hurt by competitive pricing and an increase in an Illinois state excise tax, CEO Robert J. Myers said in a statement.

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