Tech firm: Holiday spending up 6 percent so far this year

MarketsAssociated Press

A payment technology company says shoppers spent strongly to start the holiday season and then cooled off, but the overall pace is still stronger than a year ago.

First Data says overall spending, excluding gas, rose 6 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 across different forms of cards from 1.3 million merchants.

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Retail spending, which excludes grocery stores, restaurants, auto parts merchants and gas stations, rose 5.4 percent, more than doubling last year's retail growth rate of 2 percent. First Data says the buying was helped by cooler weather, higher consumer confidence and low unemployment.

E-commerce sales growth continued to outpace brick-and-mortar growth, at 10.5 percent compared with 3.9 percent for stores.