SpendTrend report: Card spending moderated in early December
Atlanta – First Data Corp.’s SpendTrend report, which tracks same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards, found that in early December, year-over-year dollar volume growth was 6.6%, a decrease from November’s strong growth of 8.1%.
Overall dollar volume growth was healthy in light of tougher year-over-year comparables, according to the report. Seasonality also had an impact on overall growth as the first two weeks of December often see a slowdown in spending following the pre-holiday and Black Friday sales in late November.
With the holiday season well underway, consumers were more cautious and value-oriented, said First Data. In early December, consumers made more frequent purchases, but average ticket size was smaller. This was reflected in overall average ticket size, which declined 1.5%, excluding fuel. Transaction growth picked up in early December as year-over-year growth rose 8.1%, compared with November’s growth of 7.7%.
At retailers, dollar volume growth was 5.4%, compared with 8.5% in November. Transaction growth also slowed to 5.9% from 7.7% in the prior month. Tougher year-over-year comparables led to the slowing growth. Soft-line merchants continued to perform better than hard-line merchants. Clothing/accessory stores performed well with dollar volume growth of 7% and average tickets rose 1%. Electronics/appliances continued to struggle with dollar volume growth of -6.6% and average tickets declined 1.8%.
SpendingPulse report: Positive retail sales momentum holds steady
Purchase, N.Y. – A report released Monday by MasterCard Advisors said that retail sales through the second week of December generally continued November’s momentum, with several sectors recording moderate to strong gains.
MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail and services sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.
“The modest growth we first saw with the August Back-to-School season has accelerated,” said Michael McNamara, VP MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “These results suggest that retail spending continues to gain traction. Most sectors showed steady improvements, McNamara added, though electronics, department stores and furnishings categories recorded flat to small declines.
SpendingPulse analyzed the electronics, apparel, e-commerce and luxury sectors. It found that e-commerce continues to be one of the stars of the season with a season-to-date growth rate of 13.5%. The sector has been showing double-digit weekly year-over-year growth rates since the second week in November.
The total apparel category was up 9.8% for the season-to-date. Women’s apparel sales were up 4.4% for the season with the category recording a slightly better showing since Black Friday. Men’s apparel sales grew 8.4% year-over-year. Growth within the teen and family apparel segments also is strong, according to the report.
Electronics sales fell below 2009 levels during the three weeks leading up to Black Friday. Sales during the rest of the period barely made up the decline, with sales season-to-date recording a 0.4% increase over last year. And the jewelry sector season-to-date is up 2.6%, with the luxury ex jewelry category doing slightly better, up 2.8% over the same period last year. Jewelry sales have grown steadily in the latter part of the season.
Consumers vote Walmart gift cards “most wanted” for Christmas
Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores said Monday that a recent poll of consumers voted Walmart the No. 1 preferred gift card that consumers most want for Christmas.
The poll, Top 20 Gift Cards of 2010, was conducted by GiftCardRescue.com.
Walmart also announced that Walmart.com will offer free shipping to home on nearly 60,000 items through 11:30 p.m. PST on Monday. The retailer has also extended the order cut-off date for its site-to-store service from Dec. 17 last year to Dec. 20 this holiday season.