Physical retailers see no boon from seasonal card spending

CARD spending in brick-and-mortar shops over the last year dropped, despite the onset of an early economy recovery.

Data from credit and debit cards released by Visa Europe yesterday suggest that while spending at physical retail stores dropped by 1.9 per cent between December 2012 and last month, despite a 6.8 per cent bump in online spending.

Online spending is still growing as a share of the retail market, up to 13.6 per cent of consumption from 12 per cent in 2012.

However, the figures also suggest that face-to-face spending enjoyed a short revival in the last week of December, with sales bringing people into stores, raising spending by 10 per cent on the same period 12 months ago.

The card company suggested that bad weather may have kept shoppers away from the high street during the two weeks before Christmas, and that others may have waited until the sales began to start spending.

Late last year, Deloitte predicted a below-inflation increase in retail sales for physical stores, but Visa’s figures suggest that spending on plastic actually declined.