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Thanksgiving and Black Friday spending round-up

First Data Corporation today released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for Black Friday 2012 compared to Black Friday 2011. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.

Year-over-year retail dollar volume growth on Thanksgiving and Black Friday was healthy at 5.6 percent as many retailers started the holiday shopping season earlier this year and consumers welcomed the opportunity to find bargains. The growth was impressive considering tough 2011 comps and that retail dollar volume growth has been in the 3 percent range for the past couple of months. Retail category performance varied considerably with building material, garden equipment and supply dealers, and clothing and accessories stores being the top performers.

Average ticket growth at retailers swung from negative (-0.9 percent) in 2011 to positive (+1.9 percent) in 2012 over the Thanksgiving to Black Friday period. Shoppers boosted their overall spend and retailers shifted discounting strategies. The rise in average tickets reflect the strengthening position of retail as some merchants may have less of an incentive to drive sales at the expense of profits.


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"Holiday spending got off to a strong start as consumers were attracted by retailers' efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving and expanding shipping and layaway options," said Rikard Bandebo, vice president and economist, First Data. "Even though spending was not quite as strong on the East Coast, spending in hurricane-struck areas was still healthy and consumer confidence has been strong. While the start of the holiday spending season appeared good, merchants will monitor shoppers to see if they can sustain the spending growth through the holiday season."

Overall retail growth rates Change
Dollar volume +5.6 percent
Transaction +3.6 percent
Average ticket +1.9 percent
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.

Other Black Friday highlights:

Overall retail dollar volume growth was strong:

  • Retailers experienced healthy dollar volume growth (DVG) of 5.6 percent during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, compared to 6.3 percent in 2011.
  • Clothing and clothing accessories merchants saw strong DVG of 10.1 percent, as seasonal merchandise discounts lured in shoppers.
  • General merchandise stores also fared well with DVG of 9.2 percent, as many of these stores offered expanded layaway options and price matching.

Average ticket growth at retailers surged:

  • Consumers increased their spend per shopping trip, improving average tickets 1.9 percent.
  • This was partly driven by merchants’ decreasing focus on driving sales through lower margins and clearing out inventory.
  • The reduced discounting did not impact DVG at general merchandise stores, but did contribute to the lower DVG at furniture and home furnishings stores.

Most regions saw a boost in dollar volume growth and spending in hurricane-struck areas was still healthy:

  • Much of the weather across the nation was crisp and clear helping drive consumer foot traffic.
  • The West and the Southwest led all other regions with DVG of 7.2 percent and 6.7 percent.
  • While spending was still healthy in New England and the Middle Atlantic, with DVG of 1.0 percent and 4.3 percent, they were the slowest growth regions as many reassessed holiday budgets after unplanned purchases of generators and building supplies due to Hurricane Sandy.

Read more about consumer behavior.

(Photo by djLicious.)

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