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SpendTrend report: March growth steady despite challenging comps

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — A report released Tuesday by First Data Corp. found that, despite tough comps and a late Easter, March 2011 same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations showed a steady uptick.

The First Data SpendTrend analysis for the full month of March 2011 compared to March 2010 showed that overall year-over-year dollar volume growth increased 8.1% in March, compared to February’s 8.4% growth rate. Excluding sales at gasoline stations, dollar volume growth was 6.9% in March versus 7.7% in February. Gasoline prices in March were up 30% year-over-year, which limited consumer discretionary spending.

Overall average ticket growth was up 1.3% in March, the largest increase in over a year. Excluding gasoline stations, average tickets grew 0.7%. With end-of-season clearance sales over, consumers are now feeling the impact of inflation, according to the report.

SpendTrend showed that signature debit dollar volume growth rose to 10.2% in March, the largest increase since December. Direct deposit of tax refunds padded consumers’ checking accounts. Credit dollar volume growth slowed to 7.7% in March after posting a 12-month high of 9.9% in February.

“Despite difficult comparables, a later Easter holiday, and soaring gas prices, March proved to be a steady month for overall consumer spending,” said Silvio Tavares, senior VP and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Solutions.

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Gap CEO pay package up 18% in 2010

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A report by the Associated Press revealed that Gap CEO Glenn Murphy received compensation worth nearly $6 million in 2010, an 18% increase from the year before.

Most of the increase came from a one-time bonus and stock awards. Murphy didn’t receive any stock awards the year before.

Murphy, 49, received a base salary of $1.5 million in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 29, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. He also received a bonus of $635,000 last year after getting none the year before.

The company said that bonus was partly because Murphy voluntarily took a $225,000 pay cut in 2009, which was restored in 2010. Gap also said it because the company’s financial performance was well above expectations in 2009 amid the severe economic downturn.

Murphy, however, saw his cash performance bonus fall to $1.7 million, half of what he received in 2009. Murphy’s stock awards were valued at $1.8 million in 2010.

He also received other compensation worth $280,937 in 2010, a 70% increase from 2009.

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Chase Card Services in agreement with Kohl’s

BY CSA STAFF

Wilmington, Del. — Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Kohl’s Department Stores announced an exclusive marketing partnership in which Chase card members enrolled in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program will gain access to a wide range of increased rewards benefits for shopping at Kohl’s.

Beginning in 2011, Kohl’s and Chase will launch several new initiatives designed to reward Chase card members for shopping at Kohl’s, including enhanced gift card promotions and expanded bonus point programs for qualifying Kohl’s purchases.

“We look forward to partnering with Chase to deliver new and exciting rewards to Kohl’s customers and Chase card members,” said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s executive VP and chief marketing officer. “Coupled with our world-class national, private and exclusive brands and industry-leading policies, this program is another way Kohl’s differentiates itself in the marketplace and continues to provide shoppers with great value.”

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