The economy is bustling with life. First Data Corporation electronic commerce and payment processing released its “SpendTrend Mid-Month Flash” analysis for the first half of December 2011 compared to the same period in December 2010. Tracking same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations, the analysis indicated the first two weeks of December 2011 saw steady overall dollar volume growth compared to November levels. Meanwhile Card spending growth was stronger than this period last year and retail dollar volume and transaction growth were both up from November. Consumers were more willing to utilize credit as they continued holiday shopping. Merchant discounting and improved consumer confidence drove consumers to put purchases on credit cards and propelled credit growth rates close to double-digit levels. It’s sure to be a black year-end for retailers nationwide.