March same-store retail sales rose a modest 2.1 percent over the same period last year, with sales affected by two calendar shifts, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. The Midwest region led the nation, followed by the Southeast, the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the West 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 200,000 subscribing locations. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of First Data Corporation.
“Two calendar shifts had an affect on March retail sales figures. An early Easter this year, from mid-April last year, shifted some Easter spending to March, with the last three days of pre-Easter spending occurring in April. But March 1998 had an extra weekend day compared to this March, which dampened this month’s same-store sales. Events in and around Yugoslavia may have had a marginal negative affect on retail sales. Overall, consumers continued a moderate pace of retail spending throughout the month,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.
The Midwest was up 3.2 percent, with sales rising 3.8 percent in Illinois, 3.4 percent in Ohio, 3.0 percent in Michigan, 2.9 percent in Wisconsin and 2.8 percent in Minnesota. Sales rose 3.9 percent in Chicago, 3.2 percent in Cleveland, 3.1 percent in Detroit and Milwaukee, and 2.7 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The Southeast region rose 2.8 percent. Tennessee’s grew 3.5 percent, Georgia’s sales were up 2.9 percent, The Carolinas’ gained 2.8 percent, Louisiana’s grew 2.6 percent and Florida’s rose 2.1 percent. Sales rose 3.3 percent in both Nashville and Memphis. Atlanta’s sales rose 3.1 percent, New Orleans’ gained 2.3 percent, Tampa’s and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale’s both increased 2.2 percent and Orlando’s grew 2.0 percent.
Sales were up 2.5 percent in the Southwest, with increases of 4.0 percent in Missouri, 2.4 percent in Texas and 1.1 percent in Oklahoma. Sales rose 4.3 percent in Kansas City, 4.1 percent in St. Louis, 2.9 percent in Houston, 2.6 percent in San Antonio, 2.0 percent in Austin and 0.8 percent in Dallas/Fort Worth. Oklahoma City’s sales rose 1.1 percent and Tulsa’s were up 0.9 percent.
The Mid-Atlantic gained 2.4 percent, with Virginia up 3.0 percent, Pennsylvania up 2.7 percent, Maryland up 1.8 percent and New Jersey up 1.4 percent. The District of Columbia’s sales rose 1.0 percent, Pittsburgh’s grew 2.9 percent, Philadelphia’s gained 2.7 percent and Baltimore’s rose 1.0 percent.
The West rose 1.5 percent, with Colorado gaining 3.0 percent and Arizona rising 2.5 percent. Hawaii’s sales grew 1.5 percent, Oregon’s rose 0.8 percent, Washington’s gained 0.5 percent and California’s rose 0.1 percent. Denver’s sales were up 3.4 percent, Phoenix’s increased 2.1 percent and Portland’s rose 0.5 percent, while Seattle’s dropped 0.2 percent. Sales rose 0.4 percent in San Diego and 0.3 percent in Los Angeles, but dropped 0.2 percent in the Bay Area.
Sales were up 0.2 percent in the Northeast, with New York climbing 4.6 percent and Massachusetts down 4.7 percent. New York City’s sales rose 3.3 percent while Boston’s dropped 3.3 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 1997, TeleCheck authorized over $98.3 billion in checks and processed more than 1.9 billion check inquiries.
Atlanta-based First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) 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 [www.firstdatacorp.com].
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.
Florida 2.1% WEST 1.5% MIDWEST 3.2%
Miami/ Arizona 2.5% Illinois 3.8%
Ft. Lauderdale 2.2% Phoenix 2.1% Chicago 3.9%
Orlando 2.0% California 0.1% Michigan 3.0%
Tampa 2.2% Bay Area -0.2% Detroit 3.1%
Louisiana 2.6% Los Angeles 0.3% Minnesota 2.8%
New Orleans 2.3% San Diego 0.4% Minneapolis/St. Paul 2.7%
Georgia 2.9% Oregon 0.8% Wisconsin 2.9%
Atlanta 3.1% Portland 0.5% Milwaukee 3.1%
Tennessee 3.5% Washington 0.5% Ohio 3.4%
Memphis 3.3% Seattle -0.2% Cleveland 3.2%
Nashville 3.3% Colorado 3.0%
The Carolinas 2.8% Denver 3.4% MID-ATLANTIC 2.4%
Hawaii 1.5% District of Columbia 1.0%
SOUTHWEST 2.5% Philadelphia 2.7%
Texas 2.4% NORTHEAST 0.2% Pittsburgh 2.9%
Austin 2.0% Massachusetts -4.7% New Jersey 1.4%
Dallas/Ft. Worth 0.8% Boston -3.3% Virginia 3.0%
Houston 2.9% New York 4.6% Maryland 1.8%
San Antonio 2.6% New York City 3.3% Baltimore 1.0%
Kansas City 4.3%
St. Louis 4.1%
Oklahoma City 1.1%