Severe Weather in January Put a Dent in Consumer Spending Growth
Severe winter weather in January battered the Midwest and eastern half of the country and hindered consumers’ ability to shop and visit stores. With that said, dollar volume growth slowed to 2.5% in January from December’s 3.4% growth.
Despite the slowdown, the overall spending growth remained healthy as categories such as Food & Beverage Stores (3.7%), General Merchandise Stores (2.1%) and Building Material & Supply Dealers (4.5%) saw strong sales and helped support the overall growth. Consumers stocking up on food and winter related items such as road salt and space heaters in response to the unusually cold weather and potential power outages drove the growth in those categories.
Meanwhile, Retail average ticket growth of -0.4% fell from last month’s growth of 0.4% as retailers implemented widespread discounting in preparation for spring restocking and as shoppers gravitated toward those bargains.
Rishi Chhabra is vice president of information and analytics solutions at First Data.