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Report: Consumer credit-card use bounces back in January

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — A 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, found that more consumers opted to pay with credit cards in January.

According to the First Data SpendTrend report for January 2011, transaction growth on credit cards was at a 13-month high in January and year-over-year credit dollar volume growth was the second highest in over a year.

Total revolving credit balances increased in December for the first time in over two years and likely increased in January, according to the report.

Across all card types, January’s total dollar volume growth increased 7.4% year-over-year, up from December’s growth of 6.5%. Transaction growth increased 8.3% in January, an improvement from December’s growth of 7.6%.

Average ticket growth declined -0.8% on a year-over-year basis, although this was a slight improvement from December’s average ticket decline of -1.0%. Most industries were impacted by declining average tickets as consumers continued to be price-conscious and look for bargains.

“Consumer spending during the fourth quarter 2010 was the strongest in nearly five years, and the momentum from the strong holiday season carried over into January,” said Silvio Tavares, senior VP and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Services.

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Potential cost savings drive energy-efficiency efforts

BY CSA STAFF

Palatine, Ill. — An overwhelming number (88%) of executives admit to a “moral responsibility” beyond regulatory requirement to make their companies more energy efficient, according to a recent poll of senior executives at Fortune 1000 companies. At the same time, however, 61% of respondents rank potential cost-savings as biggest motivator to save energy at the enterprise-level, outranking both environmental benefits and government regulations.

The survey, by Harris Interactive for Schneider Electric, revealed that while three-quarters of all executives reported the importance of saving energy increased in their organizations over the past two years, the bottom line still prevails when making decisions to implement enterprise-wide programs. The executives who cited potential savings as the key driver for sustainability said that their companies would be motivated to use less if there was an energy-management solution that could save them money.

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Macy’s raises $16.25 million through holiday campaigns

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Macy’s announced that it has donated $16.25 million to various charitable organizations as a result of its 2010 Thanks For Sharing and Believe holiday campaigns.

“Our Thanks For Sharing and Believe campaigns are successful year after year,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s EVP marketing. “We at Macy’s continue to be inspired by the millions of customers who support these programs each year with their generosity and goodwill. We’re proud to announce that $16.25 million was donated as a result of this year’s efforts.”

Now in its eighth year, Macy’s Thanks For Sharing program has raised $15 million to benefit the recipient charities. Since the launch of the campaign in 2003, Macy’s customers nationwide have rallied for the cause, helping Macy’s donate over $80 million in the seven years that Macy’s has offered the program.

The program’s beneficiaries in 2010 include three national cause organizations — the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement, which promotes heart health for women, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which provides critical funding for innovative research. Regional charities included March of Dimes, Big Brothers Big Sisters and local Boys and Girls Clubs.

Macy’s customers’ participation in all elements of Macy’s third annual Believe campaign resulted in an additional donation of more than $1.45 million to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Based on the New York Sun’s famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial, Macy’s Believe campaign invites believers of all ages to drop off letters to Santa at The North Pole at any Macy’s store by depositing them in special, designated Santa Mail letterboxes. For each letter received, Macy’s pledged to donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million, to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

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