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Credit Card Sales Surge amid Holiday Spending

Wind River’s Merchants had a strong November. Overall, year-over-year (YOY) credit card sales grew at 7.5%. Interestingly, those who saw growth and those who didn’t were evenly split with 51.2% of the merchants registering an increase, and 48.8% realizing a decrease. The industries that showed the greatest improvement over 2013 in our portfolio of merchants were Hotel and Restaurants, while the Service and Insurance Sectors showed the largest decrease in credit card sales YOY. Despite this, consumer confidence remains high overall, which is reflected in increased credit card usage trends that are expected to continue through year end.

Taking a step back and looking at the overall U.S. Economy, most recent data released this week from the Department of Commerce revealed that consumers picked up spending in November despite mixed reviews of initial Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend sales. Actual data indicated that consumers spending increased again last month, which may have been the result of a continued drop in gasoline prices. Specifically, retail sales jumped 0.7%, to $449.3 billion, from October, and 4.9% above the same period a year ago.

Another economic growth factor reported from The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated businesses added 314,000 new jobs this past month making November the tenth month in a row that the private sector has added at least 200,000 new jobs. Due to this 4th quarter surge in job growth, 2014 has already been deemed the best year of job creation since the 1990s. Why is this important to your business? Some analysts state that rises in employment and real incomes have allowed households to spend more freely. Coupled with another month of low gas prices, we’re hoping these economic growth factors trickle down to more dollars seen at your business this month.

We realize that credit cards are only part of the overall picture of your total sales, and we look forward to your feedback on how we can help improve your payment environment. Let me know if you find this information helpful or interesting. You can contact me directly at mcourchane@windriverfinancial.com or call our friendly Relationship Managers at 1-800-704-7253, Option #4.

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