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Perspective: Spending Growth Hit 12-Month High, Partly Propelled By Higher Gas Prices

Although gas prices remain at higher year-over-year levels, it didn’t stop consumers from hitting the road in July and driving up dollar volume growth to a twelve-month high at 7.7%. Thanks to the Independence Day weekend and welcoming weather, these normally budget-conscious shoppers splurged on driver-friendly vacations, which boosted average ticket growth at the fuel pump and hotel and travel merchants.

Nonetheless the spending spree stopped there. According to First Data’s most-recent SpendTrend analysis, consumers spent more time outdoors and less time in stores last month. Retail segment dollar volume growth dropped to 4.4% compared to 5.5% in June as merchants switched their sales strategy to clearing out merchandise. As a result, all retail subcategories saw lower year-over-year growth with the exception of Electronics and Appliances.

The retail slowdown will most likely be temporary though, considering that the Back to School shopping season is just around the corner. To find out what other economic factors say about consumers, or to tell us what you think, join the conversation by visiting SpendTrend on Twitter.

Rishi Chhabra is vice president of information and analytics solutions at First Data.

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