First Data Corporation has released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for Jan.1, 2014, through Jan. 31, 2013, compared to Jan. 1 2013, through Jan. 31, 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 U.S. merchant locations serviced by First Data.

Dollar volume growth of 2.5 percent slowed from December's 3.4 percent growth as severe winter weather pummeled the Midwest and eastern half of the country, which curbed consumers' ability to shop and visit stores. Overall transaction growth of 2.1 percent in January also slowed from December's growth of 3.1 percent. Despite the slowdown, the overall spending growth remained healthy as several categories such as Food & Beverage Stores, Gen'l Merchandise Stores and Building Material & Supply Dealers saw robust growth at 3.7 percent, 2.1 percent and 4.5 percent as consumers stocked up on necessities and winter related items in response to the unusually cold weather and potential power outages.

Retail dollar volume growth downshifted to -0.9 percent in January versus last month's growth of 1.2 percent. The slowdown was at least partially attributable to the winter storms that affected retail purchases across much of the country. Most retail sub-categories saw slower sequential spending growth and experienced negative year-over-year growth as shoppers also pulled back on discretionary spending in light of the recent holiday shopping season. However, dollar volume growth at Gen'l Merchandise Stores and Building Material & Supply Dealers remained positive with growth of 2.1 percent and 4.5 percent, and helped to offset the overall slowdown as consumers sought out winter weather supplies.

Average ticket growth of 0.4 percent remained relatively in-line with December's growth of 0.2 percent. The growth was supported by stronger sequential average ticket growth at Food & Beverage Stores, Food Services and Drinking Places and Leisure merchants, which saw growth of 1.1 percent, 0.7 percent and 3.2 percent versus last month's growth of 0.1 percent, -0.4 percent and 2.1 percent. Gas Station average ticket growth of -0.6 percent also marked an improvement over December's growth of -1.2 percent as gas prices are now in closer synch with last year's prices. However, retail average ticket growth of -0.4 percent fell from last month's growth of 0.4 percent as retailers implemented widespread discounting in preparation for spring restocking and as shoppers gravitated toward those bargains.

"The harsh weather conditions in January subdued some of the consumer spending growth and negatively impacted shopper foot-traffic; however, consumers' also shifted their attention toward basic commodities versus more discretionary items in preparation and response to the severe weather," said Krish Mantripragada, SVP, Information and Analytics Solutions, First Data. "Spending on credit continued to exhibit healthy growth in January as lending standards continued to ease and consumer confident levels remained relatively positive."

January Dollar Volume Growth CHANGE
Credit +4.1 percent
Signature Debit –0.2 percent
PIN Debit 3.50 percent
Check –1.7 percent
Prepaid –0.6 percent
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.

Read more about retail payments.

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