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SAN FRANCISCO – Visa’s Holiday SpendTrak report for Nov. 7-13 suggests that the 2005 Holiday season may be very strong for retailers and provide a healthy income stream from interchange for credit and debit card issuers. While still early in the shopping season, Visa reported that shoppers spent more than $23.3 billion using Visa credit, debit and commercial cards. That represents a 12.1% increase over the same period last year. Wayne Best, Visa’s in-house economist attributed the growth to lower gas prices as well as higher incomes. “Declining fuel prices, higher wages and income growth will provide consumers with more discretionary income leading to an increase in spending, which will bode well for retailers this holiday season,” Best said. The Department Stores/Apparel category is experiencing impressive growth, as consumers spent nearly $1.5 billion over the past week, an increase of almost 4% over last year. The Discount/Mass/Drug Stores category is expected to see considerable growth closer to Black Friday, the card brand said.

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