by Jeff Falk
A recent spending report showed a dollar volume growth of 6 percent in December — a substantial jump from the 4 percent growth one month earlier. Meanwhile, credit cards enjoyed a four-month high as the preferred method of payment among December’s shoppers.
Despite winter weather conditions in the Midwest and Northeast, which mired shopper foot traffic, retail spending saw a growth of 3 percent, compared to November’s 1 percent. Not surprisingly, holiday shopping drove retail spending, with consumers taking advantage of extended store hours and sales encouraging last-minute purchases.
Building material and supply dealers, heath and personal care stores and general merchandise stores led the charge, with increases of 11 percent, 5 percent and 3 percent respectively.
Gas station dollar volume saw a 3 percent increase, the most significant jump in five months, as gas prices climbed a bit from latter 2013’s far-reaching year-over-year gas price decline.
December’s average ticket growth of 0.8 percent was an improvement from November’s -0.3 percent. Average purchases also came in stronger than November’s numbers with a 1 percent jump, compared to 0.6 percent the previous month. However, average purchase growth stalled out in late December as merchants offered greater discounts for procrastinators and put clearance prices on seasonal items.continue reading »