First Data Releases August 2014 SpendTrend® Analysis

The combination of consumers soaking up the last weeks of summer before and during Labor Day weekend and August back-to-school shopping helped power the strongest retail spending growth in 13 months, according to data reported today by First Data Corporation, the global leader in payment technology and services solutions. The First Data SpendTrend report examined the period for Aug. 2 through Sept. 2, 2014 compared to Aug. 1 through Sept. 1, 2013. SpendTrend tracks same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks from nearly 4 million merchants locations serviced by First Data in the U.S.

Driven by August vacations, leisure spending growth rebounded in August, and at 3.3% was the strongest in six months. As summer waned, vacationers contributed to the rise in year-over-year spending growth in the Hotel and Travel categories, at 9.3% and 5.1% growth, respectively, a marked improvement when compared to last month’s spending growth of 7.9% and 4.6%.

Overall retail spending growth was the strongest in over a year with retail dollar volume growth at 2.8% in August (vs. 2.6% in July), as back-to-school shopping propelled spending growth in several retail categories. Dollar volume growth at Furniture and Home Furnishings and General Merchandise Stores was positive on a year-over-year basis and increased sequentially compared to July with a growth of 4.5% and 4.4%, respectively.

August’s overall average ticket growth remained positive at 1.2%, slipping slightly from July’s 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. Gasoline station average ticket growth fell to -2.3% compared to July’s decline of -0.2% as gasoline prices fell on both year-over-year and month-to-month bases. Meanwhile, the average ticket growth of 0.8% was an improvement over 0.4% last month as retailers were less aggressive with price discounting.

“Two important factors – back-to-school spending and late summer vacationing – contributed to strong overall consumer spending in August and despite stagnant wage growth and a moderate housing market, consumer confidence rose in August,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP, Information and Analytics Solutions with First Data, adding, “robust credit card spending at 5.8%, was healthy again last month, surpassing both PIN and signature debit growth.”

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