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Posted April 12, 2012

Growth in Spending

Canadian Consumer Spending Increases by 5.34 Per Cent in Q1

Moneris Solutions Reports Higher Spending on Food and Apparel

TORONTO - Moneris Solutions, Canada's largest credit and debit card processor, announced today that Canadian spending increased by 5.34 per cent during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year.

Restaurants saw the largest growth in spending, with an increase of 7.37 per cent. Specifically, fast food restaurants led the growth where eager diners helped push the category to a 13.37 per cent increase-a trend continued from 2011.

Household products and apparel were also leading categories seeing an increase of 6.99 per cent and 6.39 per cent, respectively. In the specialty retail category, shoe stores had a successful quarter with a 9.95 per cent rise in spending. Sporting goods stores followed closely with 9.48 per cent increase.

The Moneris Spending Report indicated that February had the slowest growth in the quarter, with an increase of 4.53 per cent compared to the same month last year. January showed a 5.24 per cent increase-most likely due to the lingering effects of the 2011 holiday spending season. March showed the strongest growth, with an increase of 6.76 per cent. This may be attributed in part to the early arrival of spring and unseasonably warm temperatures affecting many parts of the country.

With a 9.58 per cent increase in spending in the first quarter, Saskatchewan had the biggest percentage growth across Canada, followed closely by Alberta at 8.6 per cent. Ontario and British Columbia lagged behind with the slowest growths of 4.59 per cent and 3.02 per cent, respectively. Quebec was situated in the middle of the pack, showing a 6.31 per cent increase compared to the first quarter in 2011.

Nationally, the average purchase amount on credit cards decreased by 1.6 per cent to $105.67 while the average debit card purchase amount increased by 0.83 per cent to $46.03, compared to the same period last year. This slight shift towards debit may indicate a desire by Canadians to reduce their reliance on credit in the months following the holiday shopping period.

Despite slower sales in the month, Valentine's Day proved to be a successful retail holiday generating a spending increase of 7.03 per cent compared to a typical Tuesday in February. Spending at florists rocketed by 373.1 per cent followed by candy, nut and confectionary stores showing a 167.35 per cent increase. Similarly, spending at jewellery stores was up 112.41 per cent.

"The first quarter of 2012 has been positive for merchants and a strong indication of what we could expect from consumer spending for the rest of the year," said Jim Baumgartner, President and CEO, Moneris Solutions. "However, if gas prices continue to rise, discretionary spending in certain categories may be affected and we will monitor the impact accordingly."

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