Sunday , November 29, 2020

New Data Show a Rebound for Restaurants And Hotels As States Wrestle With Covid-19

Though Covid-19 still casts a long shadow over a number of U.S. states where early reopenings have led to a resurgence in  coronavirus cases, data released Monday indicate merchant volume is climbing rapidly across industries. The positive trend includes the hard-hit hospitality sector, according to the latest numbers. 

Merchants in some 43 states are showing a rise of at least 10% in volume, comparing the week starting June 28 with the week beginning May 31, according to numbers from Shift4 Payments Inc. The Allentown, Pa.-based processor reports that merchants in states where Covid-19 cases have recently surged are still well above the lows they fell into in March, when the virus had devastated most retail businesses. Volumes in the latest week are up 168% in Texas, 155% in Florida, and 128% in Arizona since that low point in the week of March 22, the data indicate.

The data look much brighter for restaurants than was the case three months ago, with volume up nearly 170% in the latest week compared to the week of March 22. Shift4 reports processing 13.2 million transactions for eateries in the latest week, a number that has held steady for the past three weeks. That’s up from not quite 5 million in that final week of March.

Hotels, meanwhile, registered 2.7 million transactions in the latest week, representing a steady week-by-week climb since the low point in the middle of April, when that number had dipped to 800,000. Indeed, hotels have climbed to a level 4% higher than the week of Feb. 2, before the pandemic’s impact had been felt in the United States. Restaurants are still 35% below that level. Shift4’s processing business in heavily concentrated in the hospitality industry, with hotels and restaurants representing more than 146,000 of the company’s more than 200,000 merchants. All told, the company, which went public  last month, processes more than $200 billion annually on more than 3.5 billion transactions.

While hospitality appears to be recovering, e-commerce continues a surge that began when quarantined consumers turned to online shops for everything from groceries to clothes. This trend is especially strong for debit cards, on which card-not-present transactions soared 38.7% in the week ending June 28 compared to the week ending June 30, 2019, according to the latest data from PSCU, a credit union service organization based in St. Petersburg, Fla. Credit card transactions online grew 21.8% over the same time.

For all spending, the PSCU report found debit card transactions down 1.5% year-over-year, while credit card transactions dropped 9.7% after 11 weeks of growth.

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