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Winter weather fails to cool spending

In spite of a noticeable dip in spending during the flurry of snow at the end of the month, this was the seventh straight month that the annual growth rate of retail sector spending increased by more than 9% - a dramatic illustration of how spending has recovered since the recession in 2009.

Unusually, the busiest day for card payments in November was a Friday (26th), as shoppers stayed at home on the Saturday, having been forced off the high street by the Artic weather.

However, the early indications in December show the shoppers have returned. Unsurprisingly the biggest shopping day of the year so far came on Saturday 4th December as frustrated shoppers took advantage of the break in the weather to make up for the lost Christmas shopping time over the previous week. All eyes will now be on the Saturday before Christmas (18th), traditionally the busiest day of the year for retailers and dubbed “Super Saturday”.

Stuart Neal, Head of Barclaycard UK Payment Acceptance, said: “There is no doubt the weather has delayed some people’s Christmas shopping but it was still a bumper month for retailers. This bodes well for December and retailers will hope that shoppers frustrated by the snow disruptions will be ramping up their spending ahead of Christmas”.

The Barclaycard Spending Index is based on spending on all credit and debit cards, across 44 retail sectors. Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance processes credit and debit card payments for 85,000 businesses in the UK, around 30% of the UK market.

The figures also reflect the continued migration from cash to card and automated payments, which usually intensifies in the months leading up to Christmas. According to the UK Payments Administration, cash is expected to become the minority payment method within ten years[1, driven by new technologies - such as Barclaycard’s Contactless and mobile payments - making it easier to use cards for even the smallest transactions.

[1] UK Payments Administration 2010

Notes to editors

Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance enables businesses to accept credit and debit card payments. The data in this index relates to retailers’ credit and debit card transactions processed by Barclaycard rather than purchases made with a Barclaycard.

With an overall market share of over 30%, Global Payment Acceptance captures a significant proportion of all retail transactions in the UK. The index is based on the variation in volumes of credit and debit card transactions and provides both a year-on-year and month-on-month comparison. The index incorporates a number of specific filters to ensure the data is not affected by changes to the Barclaycard GPA customer base over time.

The index does not take into account the effects of any cash payments made to retailers.

The index does not adjust for price increases/decreases but measures the value of credit and debit card spending at retailers that use Barclaycard to process their card payments.

2010 month-on-month trend to date

Month–on-month changes

% Change

January to February


February to March


March to April


April to May


May to June


June to July


July to August


August to September


September to October


October to November


Definition of retail sector*

There are 44 Retail sectors included within the index

Antiques, Art, Stamps & Coins

Furniture stores

Pawn Shops

Artists Supplies

Garden Centres

Pet Shops

Auto Parts and Accessories

Gift Shops


Bakers and Dairies


Record Shops

Books, Newspapers & Magazines

Hobbies, Toys & Games

Religious Goods


Household Appliance Stores

Second Hand Shops


Household Goods

Sports Shops

Cosmetic Stores



Department Stores

Luggage & Leather Goods

Shoe shops

Discount Stores

Men’s Clothing

Speciality Shops

DIY Stores

Miscellaneous Clothing


Electronic Stores

Miscellaneous Food Stores

Sweet Stores

Family Clothing

Music Shops

Vehicle Sales

Floor Covering Stores


Women’s Clothing


Optical Goods