Moneris Solutions

Moneris Solutions

December 06, 2007 08:30 ET

Ready, Set, Buy: Many Gifts But Modest Sales

Moneris data reveals what's in store for this holiday season

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2007) - According to data released today by Moneris Solutions, Canada's largest processor of electronic payments, this holiday season will see more merchandise moved than ever before but only a modest increase in sales revenue. The high Canadian dollar has created an expectation among consumers that products will be priced to move. As a result, Moneris predicts only a 5.5% increase in holiday sales revenue versus the 7% experienced last year.

"There is no doubt about it, the appreciation of the Canadian dollar has had an impact on Canadian merchants since May and we don't expect that impact to lessen throughout the holiday season," says Brian Green, Senior Vice President, Moneris Solutions. "In October we saw sales volume growth soften as consumers looked for the high dollar to be reflected in the prices of items on the shelf. In November, pricing changes started to take effect and volume started to come back. During this holiday season I'm hearing more 'low, low, low' than 'ho, ho, ho'. The big question is will consumers be dazzled by the bargains and actually spend more?"

Friday, December 21st will be the busiest shopping day this holiday season. National purchasing volumes will peak between 2 - 3pm with key merchants seeing significant boosts on this busy day. Handling 8.3 million transactions, with over 14,000 transactions per minute on last year's busiest day, December 22nd, Moneris Solutions is in a unique position to gather this important Canadian spending data.

"Total purchases through Moneris on Friday, December 22nd, last year's busiest shopping day, skyrocketed to over $625,000,000 on that one day alone," says Green. "With that in mind, retailers need to prepare themselves for the rush that will prevail this holiday season."

The average nation-wide checkout purchase amount was $75.10 on the busiest shopping day. Interestingly, florists, hardware, clothing and department stores all showed a similar average transaction size that day. "There was remarkably little variation by store type," says Green. "I guess last minute shoppers are generally compromising on what they buy and more expensive gifts tend to be better thought out."

To give or not to give

The busiest day for returns in 2006 was Thursday, December 28th with over $14,000,000 worth of merchandise returned. People know what they want, so this year giving that gift card as opposed to the "perfect gift" may be the gift of choice.

According to Moneris Solutions' Ernex division, the leading Canadian provider of loyalty and stored-value gift card programs, consumer demand for gift cards is growing at more than 20% this year in Canada. Merchants are responding to this demand by making it easier for consumers to purchase gift cards online and in retail locations. Not only have existing merchants seen continued growth in demand for their cards in 2007, the number offering gift cards, particularly in the small business segment, continues to grow rapidly.

"We have seen extraordinary activity in the last quarter of the year with hundreds of new merchants adding gift cards to their retail mix each month in preparation for the Christmas shopping season," says Malcolm Fowler, Senior Vice President of Ernex. "That preparation will pay off as last minute shoppers are predicted to make December 22nd the busiest day of the year for gift card purchases. Many of those cards will be redeemed in late December and early January, extending the Christmas shopping season for retailers while helping to reduce merchandise returns on unwanted gifts. Participating merchants will also benefit as consumers make additional purchases when redeeming gift cards in their store."

About Moneris Solutions

As one of North America's largest providers of payment processing solutions, Moneris offers credit, debit, wireless and online payment services for merchants in virtually every industry segment. Through its Ernex division, Moneris also provides electronic loyalty and stored-value card programs. With more than 350,000 merchant locations generating close to three billion transactions annually, Moneris provides the hardware, software and systems needed to improve business efficiency and manage payments. For more information please visit

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