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First Data mid-month overview: Card spending growth solid

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — The SpendTrend report released Wednesday by First Data Corp., which tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations, showed that card spending growth has remained solid through mid December.

According to the report, for the first two weeks of December 2011, overall dollar volume growth was steady compared with November levels. Card spending growth was stronger than this period last year. Retail dollar volume and transaction growth were both up from November. Among retail categories, clothing/accessory and general merchandise stores posted healthy dollar volume growth in early December and were up significantly from November.

“Historically, there has been some slowing in spending between Black Friday and the last week before Christmas,” said Silvio Tavares, senior VP and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions. “This year we did not see that occur as consumers kept spending on discounted goods.”

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Barneys New York teams with Micros-Retail for mobile POS

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Westboro, Mass. — Micros-Retail, a division of Micros Systems, said Wednesday that Barneys New York has launched the Micros-Retail miStore mobile point-of-sale solution in its flagship New York store, starting this holiday season.

Barneys New York, a current customer of Micros-Retail for point of sale, loss prevention and order management solutions, will use the new mobile solution to help streamline multiple transaction stations created by its multi-faceted holiday campaign around Gaga’s Workshop. The campaign includes holiday windows, a dedicated Gaga interactive website, and a transformed retail environment.

"The mobile POS will help Barneys New York to manage the high volume of expected shoppers and allow quick checkout …" said Sean O’Reilly, VP information technology of Barneys New York.

Barneys New York is using the holiday season to launch Micros-Retail miStore mobile POS, with plans to expand to stores across the country. The mobile system allows more freedom for employees to navigate throughout the store to better service shoppers, as associates are able to conduct sales and locate inventory via portable Apple products, predominately the iPod Touch.

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Study uncovers lack of cyber safety among mobile users

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A study released Wednesday by the National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee revealed a false sense of cyber security for mobile users.

The survey, conducted by Zogby International, found that 72% of Americans have never installed data protection applications or security software on their smartphones in order to protect against data loss or against viruses and malware.

The lack of security doesn’t slow smartphone use, the study found. In fact, 44% use their smartphones to access the Internet and 75% say they access the Internet more frequently on their device today than they did one year ago.

The NCSA/McAfee research also found that 70% of smartphone owners say they feel their device is safe from hackers, malware and other types of cybercrime. This data shows that taking extra precautions to protect smart phones from virus attacks and other threats is not common practice for U.S. consumers as most feel their devices are safe enough.

Along with the uptick in mobile Internet use, the NCSA/McAfee survey also found that more applications are being developed and downloaded to meet the variety of user interests and needs. In the last six months, the applications most smartphone owners say they have added to their phones are games (46%), followed by social networking apps (37%).

Smartphone users are pretty well split as to whether they have ever abandoned downloading an app over security or safety concerns (50% to 45%). Of those who have decided not to download an app over a security or safety concern, most said they did so because they were unsure of what data about themselves was being collected and how it would be used (71%)

"This study highlights the need to focus on the security of our mobile devices and networks as mobile technologies are adopted by an ever-increasing amount of the population and becoming a central part of our lives," said John Thode, executive VP consumer, mobile and small business, McAfee.

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