Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Late Surge Lifts Holiday Sales

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Late Surge Lifts Holiday Sales

Article excerpt

HOUSTON _ A late surge by shoppers over the last 48 hours of the holiday season helped boost same-store retail check sales to 5.1 percent for the 30-day period between Nov. 25 and Dec. 24 compared with 1993, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services Inc., a check-acceptance company.

Sales in Oklahoma for the 30 days were up 9.6 percent, according to Telecheck.

TeleCheck's index data are based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at more than 19,000 of TeleCheck's 115,000 subscribing locations. The figures do not represent total retail sales. In 1993, TeleCheck processed $24 billion in check authorizations.

"The unusually heavy surge of late spending was driven by an extra shopping day this season and the fact that Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday. Those two factors helped boost a lagging shopping season up to the lower end of our retail check sales prediction," said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck's senior economic adviser.

TeleCheck's data also showed that Saturday, Dec. 17, was the No. 1 shopping day this year, with Friday, Dec. 23, the second-largest day.

"The heavy volume on Dec. 23 is a further indication that consumers waited until the last few days to complete their Christmas shopping," Ford added.

Based on the total number of check transactions, TeleCheck said the top four shopping days were Saturday, Dec. 17; Friday, Dec. 23; Saturday, Dec. 10; and Friday, Nov. 25. By comparison, the biggest days in 1993 were Saturday, Dec. 18; Saturday, Dec. 11; and Friday, Nov. 26.

The Mid-Atlantic with an increase of 8.9 percent and Northeast with an increase of 6.8 percent, were the regions with the strongest gains.

In the Mid-Atlantic, sales rose 10.6 percent in Virginia, 5.5 percent in Pennsylvania and 3. …

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