Capital Access Network, Inc.'s (CAN) data services division’s Small Business Credit Sales (SBCS) Report indicates that Main Street businesses showed a 2.9 percent decline in Q3 2011 card sales compared to Q3 2010 levels. This sixteenth consecutive quarter of decline affects most monitored segments, highlighted only by a few areas of increased card sales. 

The largest jump in card sales was demonstrated by restaurants with average tickets less than $25, which rose 4.9 percent in Q3 2011 compared to Q3 2010 sales – the fifth consecutive year-over-year card sales increase. Restaurants with average tickets of $50 to $100 followed with a 1.6 percent increase, while restaurants in general increased their card sales by 1.0 percent. Other areas of year-over-year positive card sales increases were found in metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas with a population between 100,000 and 249,999 (2.1 percent increase) and the Great Lakes region (0.8 percent increase).

While restaurants demonstrated some increases, retail and service providers reported a 6 percent decline in Q3 2011 versus Q3 2010 card sales, the eighteenth straight quarter of year-over-year decline. When compared to the Federal Reserve’s October 2011 G19 Release, this quarter’s SBCS Report results suggest that for the past two quarters, most independent restaurants, retailers, and service providers have been struggling to hold on to their share of the available consumer credit card float nationwide.  

Clothing sales, highlighted for the “back to school” period beginning in July, dipped 5.9 percent in Q3 2011. These numbers are a departure from the Census Bureau’s Monthly and Annual Retail Sales Time Data Series, indicating that “big box” retailers are benefiting from increased consumer spending in this area.

"This quarterly report offers encouraging data for the restaurant industry, which is demonstrating an aggregate uplift in card sales. Less expensive restaurants are the highlight, the only sector in our report with five consecutive quarters of year-over-year card sales,” says Glenn Goldman, CEO of Capital Access Network, Inc. “On the other hand, retail and service industries continue to be challenged by year-over-year declining card sales dating back to Q2 2007.”

The findings were released today in CAN's Q3 2011 Small Business Credit Sales Report (SBCS Report) and are available here.

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