First Data: April impacted by early Easter, but spring outlook is positive

Atlanta -- A Wednesday report by First Data found that April sales were negatively impacted by a March Easter, but that there has been an earlier start to the spring spending season.

According to First Data’s SpendTrend report, comparing April 2012 same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards to the same period last year, the earlier Easter drew some purchases into March, while the unseasonably warm winter also pulled forward sales of spring merchandise. Higher wages and reduced consumer savings contributed to increased discretionary spending.

Overall year-over-year dollar volume growth was 5.7% in April, down from March’s 8.7% growth. Transaction growth slowed to 5.8% in April, down from 9.3% in March.

Despite the slowdown in overall year-over-year dollar volume and transaction growth, several discretionary spending categories, including Hotels, Travel and Restaurants, posted strong dollar volume growth in April.

And, although overall average ticket growth was slightly negative in April at -0.1%, it out-performed March’s -0.6% growth.