Holiday Spending Trends

NEW YORK (AP) – A payment technology company says shoppers spent strongly to start the holiday season and then cooled off, but the overall pace is still stronger than a year ago.

First Data says overall spending, excluding gas, rose 6 percent from Nov. 1 through Monday, outpacing the 3.7 percent pace for the year-ago period. The company analyzes online and in-store payments across different forms of cards from 1.3 million merchants.

Retail spending, which excludes grocery stores, restaurants, auto parts merchants and gas stations, rose 5.4 percent, more than doubling last year’s retail growth rate of 2 percent. First Data says the buying was helped by cooler weather, higher consumer confidence and low unemployment.

E-commerce sales growth continued to outpace brick-and-mortar growth, at 10.5 percent compared with 3.9 percent for stores.

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