Tech firm: Holiday spending up 9.2 percent so far
A payment technology firm says that holiday spending is surging in the days before Christmas. First Data said Friday that overall spending, excluding gas, rose 9.2 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 for 1.3 million merchants. Retail spending, which excludes grocery stores, restaurants, auto parts merchants and gas stations, is up 6.6 percent, more than the 2 percent growth for the year-ago period. Online sales growth continues to outpace brick-and-mortar growth, at 11 percent compared with 5.4 percent for stores. Cooler weather, rising consumer confidence and low unemployment are enticing shoppers to spend.