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SAN FRANCISCO – American consumers are continuing to use their Visa branded credit and debit cards a significantly higher rate than last year, the nation’s number one card brand has reported. Overall sales volume on Visa-branded payment cards reached $25.1 billion for the week (Nov. 28 – Dec. 4), an increase of 13.9% over the same period in 2004, Visa reported in its weekly SpendTrak report. Spending (sales volume) on Visa cards during the overall holiday season so far (Oct 31 – Dec 4) increased to nearly $113.5 billion, a 16.3% growth over the same period in 2004. While retail growth experienced moderate gains in the week following Black Friday, Wayne Best, Visa’s in-house economist, commented “Last week’s encouraging job growth numbers speak to the underlying strength of the economy and consumer’s confidence and ability to spend during the holidays. Spending data continues to show that consumers are in the shopping mood and we expect that momentum to drive retail consumption in the weeks ahead.” SpendTrak reported that gains were seen in nearly all retail categories during the week led by Home & Garden (14.2%), Discount/Mass/Drug Stores (9.9%), Specialty Retail/Gift/Hobby (8.9%), and Personal Entertainment (8.1%). Visa also reported that the so-called Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) started the online shopping season strong, with purchases on Visa-branded payment cards reaching approximately $505 million. But online purchases actually peaked on Dec. 1, reaching approximately $575 million, an increase of 41% versus the same day in 2004. For the week, e-commerce spending on Visa branded cards surpassed $3.2 billion, Visa said.

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