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First Data: Card spending growth inched lower in June as consumers remained cautious

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — A report by FirstData Corp. found that year-over-year dollar volume growth was 6.4% in June, down from May’s 7.0% growth as continuing high unemployment and economic anxiety caused consumers to pull back on spending. The report tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.

The First Data SpendTrend analysis for the full month of June 2012 compared with June 2011 found that average ticket growth at retail stores slowed to 0.1% in June from 1.0% in May. Many retailers engaged in aggressive promotional activity in order to stimulate demand. Low inflation levels also contributed to the slowdown in average ticket growth. Average ticket growth at retail stores was 1.5% in June after rising 1.9% in May.

“Consumers became increasingly cautious with their spending in June. Unseasonably warm temperatures accompanied by storms further dampened spending growth late in the month,” said Mark Herrington, executive VP of global product management and innovation, First Data.

Here is more information from the report:

June Dollar Volume Growth Change
Credit +4.8%
Signature Debit +6.5%
PIN Debit +9.5%
Check -7.5%
Closed-Loop Prepaid -4.3%

Note: All transactions are same-store growth.

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Marcus Samuelsson designs cookware exclusive for Macy’s

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Macy’s has partnered with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson for an exclusive cookware collaboration with celebrity chef and Macy’s Culinary Council member, Marcus Samuelsson. The “Marcus Samuelsson American Table for Belgique” collection will launch in September 2012, exclusively at Macy’s and on Macys.com.

“Marcus Samuelsson is one of the most innovative and recognizable chefs in the industry, with unparalleled culinary knowledge and a deep passion for cooking that continues to inspire our customers,” said Nancy Slavin, SVP marketing for Macy’s private brands. “Exceptionally designed, the Marcus Samuelsson American Table for Belgique collection offers professional-level cookware that is essential for home cooks who want to create culinary magic in their own kitchens.”

Items in the collection include a 10-piece cast aluminum cookware set, which includes 2-qt. and 3-qt. covered saucepans, 8-qt. covered stockpot with coordinating steamer insert, 8” and 10” fry pans and silicone trivet. Also available in cast aluminum are a 4-qt. Dutch oven, 4-qt. sauteuse and 8” fry pan. The Marcus Samuelsson American Table for Belgique collection ranges in price from $59.99 to $429.99 and will be available in 400 Macy’s stores and on Macys.com in September.

“As a proud member of the Macy’s Culinary Council, I am thrilled to partner with Macy’s on the Marcus Samuelsson American Table for Belgique cookware,” said Samuelsson. “Home cooks can use this high-performance, stylish range to create everything from classic American favorites to the flavorful, ethnic dishes that embody our diverse culinary landscape.”

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Office Depot inspires youth with ‘Born This Way’ products

BY CSA STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Office Depot is supporting Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation by offering an exclusive line of products designed to empower youth and inspire bravery.

Custom products include empowerment gift cards (with a face value of $20), with one of six messages on the front: “Be Brave,” “Be Amazing,” “Be Yourself,” “Be Kind,” “Be Accepting,” and “Be Involved.”

Also available will be limited-edition “Kindness Sticks” Post-It Notes, limited-edition Sharpie pens, and unique “Bravery Bracelets,” each of which feature Born This Way Foundation’s logo, as well as the same six messages of empowerment as the gift cards.

All products are available exclusively at Office Depot, both in retail stores and online at www.officedepot.com and www.facebook.com/officedepot. Office Depot will donate 25% of the sales of these limited edition products directly to Born This Way Foundation, with a guaranteed donation of $1 million this year.

“Office Depot is a place that brings together students as well as their families and teachers, who play such an important role in inspiring and supporting today’s youth,” said Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation.

Office Depot has also created unique experiences on its Facebook page to encourage students to express their individuality and reach out and connect with each other.

“Born This Way Foundation is an inspirational organization that has the power to make a difference in the lives of today’s youth and we are honored to join this movement and help raise awareness for such an important cause,” said Bob Moore, chief marketing officer for Office Depot. “We feel the six empowerment phrases will help start a much needed conversation among our students of `What will you be this school year?”’To which we look forward to hearing millions of students around the country answering: `Kind,’ `Brave,’ `Accepting,’ `Involved,’ `Amazing’ – and most of all, for them to feel encouraged to `Be Yourself.’"

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