April same-store retail sales rose a modest 1.9 percent over the same period last year, as a calendar shift split Easter spending between two months, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. The Midwest region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the West, the Southeast and the Northeast. 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 210,000 subscribing locations. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC).
“This year’s Easter spending was split between March and April, with only the last three days of pre-Easter spending occurring in April. Continued NATO activities in and around Yugoslavia, and the Columbine High School tragedy, may have had a slight negative affect on retail sales by keeping shoppers at home. Overall, though, consumers continued their moderate pace of retail spending throughout the month,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.
The Midwest was up 3.6 percent, with sales up 4.5 percent in Wisconsin, 3.9 percent in Michigan, 3.7 percent in Illinois, 3.3 percent in Ohio, and 2.1 percent in Minnesota. Milwaukee’s sales rose 4.0 percent, Detroit’s grew 3.4 percent, Chicago’s gained 3.3 percent, Cleveland’s increased 3.5 percent and Minneapolis/St. Paul’s 2.6 percent.
Sales rose 2.5 percent in the Southwest, with Missouri up 3.2 percent, Texas up 2.5 percent and Oklahoma up 1.3 percent. Sales grew by 3.6 percent in St. Louis, 3.4 percent in Kansas City, 2.8 percent in San Antonio, 2.7 percent in Houston and 2.6 percent in both Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth. Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa were up 1.3 percent
Sales rose 2.3 percent in the Mid-Atlantic. Virginia’s sales were up 3.0 percent, Pennsylvania’s rose 2.7 percent, New Jersey’s grew 1.5 percent and Maryland’s rose 1.2 percent. The District of Columbia’s sales gained 2.7 percent, Philadelphia’s increased 3.0 percent, Pittsburgh’s grew 2.7 percent and Baltimore’s rose 0.8 percent.
The West was up 1.7 percent, with gains of 3.4 percent in Arizona, 3.2 percent in Hawaii and 3.1 percent in Colorado. Oregon’s sales rose 1.2 percent and Washington’s gained 0.4 percent while California’s fell 5.1 percent. Sales were up 3.2 percent in both Phoenix and Denver, 1.1 percent in Portland and 0.8 percent in Seattle. Sales fell 3.1 percent in San Diego, 4.3 percent in Los Angeles and 6.3 percent in the Bay Area.
The Southeast rose 1.4 percent. Tennessee’s sales grew 2.6 percent, The Carolinas’ rose 2.4 percent, Louisiana’s gained 1.7 percent and Georgia’s grew 1.5 percent. Florida’s dropped 2.0 percent. Sales rose 2.4 percent in Nashville, 2.1 percent in Memphis, 1.9 percent in New Orleans and 1.8 percent in Atlanta. Orlando’s sales fell 0.1 percent, Tampa’s dropped 1.4 percent and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale’s fell 3.1 percent.
Sales were down 0.5 percent in the Northeast, with New York up 2.3 percent and Massachusetts down 1.1 percent. New York City’s sales rose 2.0 percent and Boston’s dropped 2.0 percent.
TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for approximately 37 percent of retail spending. In 1998, TeleCheck authorized over $112 billion in checks and processed more than 2.2 billion check inquiries.
Note: The TeleCheck logo and retail sales figures can be downloaded from the TeleCheck web site at or from PR Newswire and NewsCom.
Atlanta-based First Data Corporation is a leader in payment services, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or stored value card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money. For more information about First Data, please visit the Company on the Internet at .
Dr. William Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s Federal Open Market Committee.
SOUTHEAST 1.4% WEST 1.7% MIDWEST 3.6%
Florida -2.0% Arizona 3.4% Illinois 3.7%
Ft. Lauderdale -3.1% Phoenix 3.2% Chicago 3.3%
Orlando -0.1% California -5.1% Michigan 3.9%
Tampa -1.4% Bay Area -6.3% Detroit 3.4%
Louisiana 1.7% Los Angeles -4.3% Minnesota 2.1%
New Orleans 1.9% San Diego -3.1% Minneapolis/
St. Paul 2.6%
Georgia 1.5% Oregon 1.2% Wisconsin 4.5%
Atlanta 1.8% Portland 1.1% Milwaukee 4.0%
Tennessee 2.6% Washington 0.4% Ohio 3.3%
Memphis 2.1% Seattle 0.8% Cleveland 3.5%
Nashville 2.4% Colorado 3.1%
The Carolinas 2.4% Denver 3.2% MID-ATLANTIC 2.3%
Hawaii 3.2% District of
SOUTHWEST 2.5% Pennsylvania 2.7%
Texas 2.5% NORTHEAST -0.5% Philadelphia 3.0%
Austin 2.6% Massachusetts -1.1% Pittsburgh 2.7%
Dallas/Ft. Worth 2.6% Boston -2.0% New Jersey 1.5%
Houston 2.7% New York 2.3% Virginia 3.0%
San Antonio 2.8% New York City 2.0% Maryland 1.2%
Missouri 3.2% Baltimore 0.8%
Kansas City 3.4%
St. Louis 3.6%
Oklahoma City 1.3%