Survey: Day after Thanksgiving sales up 2.4%

The holiday shopping season started off well for many retailers as same-store sales rose 2.4% over the same day last year, according to TeleCheck Services, Inc., Houston, the world’s leading check acceptance company. This increase is in line with TeleCheck’s forecast of a 2% same-store sales gain for the entire 32-day shopping season.

The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Compiled on a calendar basis, TeleCheck’s index includes data from a broad cross-section of retailers nationwide. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment, the company says.

“The one-day sales data provide us with just a glimpse of what we might expect for the rest of the shopping season,” said William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Adviser. “While the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally not the biggest shopping day of the year, it provides an encouraging early indication of spending for the season.and as such, a 2.4% increase in same-store sales is good news for retailers.”

In 2000, the day after Thanksgiving was the fifth largest day of the holiday season, with the biggest spending days occurring the final week before Christmas.

“Favorable weather conditions across the nation and an overall feeling of goodwill among Americans regarding Operation Enduring Freedom helped contribute to the busy shopping day yesterday,” said Ira Silver, TeleCheck’s Senior Retail Adviser. “People in this country want to return to a feeling of normalcy; visiting family and shopping the malls the day after Thanksgiving help to bolster that feeling.”

TeleCheck reported the following regional activity:

* Sales were up 2.7% in the Southeast. Sales in Louisiana grew 3%, sales in both Florida and Tennessee climbed 2.7% and sales jumped 2.6% in both The Carolinas and Georgia.

* The Southwest was up 2.6%, with sales rising 2.7% in Oklahoma, 2.6% in Texas and 2.5% in Missouri.

* In the Northeast, sales grew 2.5%, with New York State jumping 2.6% and Massachusetts up 2.3%.

* The Mid-Atlantic gained 2.4%, with New Jersey up 3%, Pennsylvania up 2.5%, Virginia up 2.4%, the District of Columbia up 2.3% and Maryland up 2.2%.

* The Midwest rose 2.3%. Wisconsin’s sales grew 2.7%, Illinois’ sales increased 2.3%, Minnesota’s sales gained 2.2%, Ohio’s sales rose 2.1% and Michigan’s sales grew 2%.

* The West region saw sales increase 2.2%. Oregon and Washington both saw sales increase 2.6%, sales in Hawaii grew 2.5%, Colorado’s sales jumped 2.2%, and sales in both California and Arizona grew 1.8%.

In 2000, TeleCheck authorized more than $163 billion in checks, representing 3.2 billion transactions.

TeleCheck is a subsidiary of First Data Corp., Denver.