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TeleCheck: Dec. same-store sales grew 2.1%

Fueled by pre- and post-holiday promotions, same-store retail sales for December increased by 2.1 percent, compared with the same period last year, according to data compiled by Telecheck Services Inc.

The top five shopping days, in descending order, were Sat., Dec. 22; Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving; Sat., Dec. 15; Fri., Dec. 21; and Thurs., Dec. 20.

"A long pre-Christmas shopping weekend helped buoy December retail sales by 2.1 percent, just edging out November's 1.9 percent gain," said William Ford, TeleCheck's senior economic adviser. "As a result, the year ended on a positive note, albeit modest, and consumer confidence is on the rise again — a good sign moving into the new year."

"While the day after Christmas is certainly one of the busiest days of the year, most of the shopping traffic consists of people exchanging or returning gifts; therefore, the impact on that day's spending is not very significant and the day rarely classifies as a 'top shopping day,' said Ira Silver, TeleCheck's senior retail adviser. "Also, the winter chill that hit the southern regions of the country during the final week of December probably helped boost seasonal purchases in those areas."

For the month of December, sales climbed 2.5 percent in the Southeast region. Sales in the Carolinas rose 2.6 percent; sales in Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee each grew 2.5 percent; and sales in Georgia were up 2.3 percent.

Sales in the Southwest region increased 2.4 percent. Sales in Oklahoma grew 2.7 percent, Missouri's sales rose 2.5 percent, and in Texas, sales were up 2.4 percent.

The Northeast region's sales increased 2.4 percent. In New York state, sales increased 2.4 percent, and sales in Massachusetts climbed 2.3 percent.

Sales in both the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions grew 2.1 percent. In the Midwest, Wisconsin's sales increased 2.5 percent, Minnesota's sales grew 2.3 percent, Illinois' sales rose 2.0 percent and Ohio's sales were up 1.9 percent.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, New Jersey's sales climbed 2.5 percent, Pennsylvania's sales jumped 2.2 percent, Virginia's sales rose 2.0 percent, and sales in both Maryland and the District of Columbia increased 1.8 percent.

Sales grew 1.8 percent in the West region. Sales jumped 2.3 percent in Hawaii, 1.9 percent in Washington and 1.8 percent in both Colorado and Oregon. Sales in California increased 1.7 percent, and sales were up 1.6 percent in Arizona.

The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck's 272,000 subscribing locations.

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