A SpendingPulse™ report released today by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard(NYSE:MA), provided total retail sales (excluding automotive) results for December 2012. Excluding auto sales, total retail sales grew by 2.4% year-over-year. Slow spending on gasoline and some holiday related sectors contributed to December’s slower growth rate. Taking out both autos and gasoline, retail spending grew at a slightly stronger 2.8% year-over-year. This is down from total retail sales (ex. auto) growth of 4.5% in November. MasterCard Advisors produces monthly and weekly SpendingPulse reports that are available to subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Brazil, and are delivered ahead of retail spending figures provided by other sources. In the U.S., MasterCard Advisors provides detailed reports on sectors including airlines, apparel, auto parts and services, department stores, ecommerce, electronics, furniture, gasoline, hardware, hotels and lodging, jewelry, luxury sales and restaurants. The underlying softness of holiday related sectors of retail sales acted as a drag on December’s growth rate. However, when examining a broader view of retail, the growth rates show modest improvement. Kamalesh Rao, Director of Economic Research for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, noted, “Throughout the year, we had been seeing a sustained, albeit gentle strength to the monthly numbers. This continued into the fourth quarter, which had a strong start, peaking by the third week of October. Then from that time until the end of the year, we saw frequent swings between acceleration and deceleration.” About MasterCard SpendingPulse A macro‐economic indicator, MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide About MasterCard Advisors As the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Advisors is uniquely qualified to provide clients with insights and solutions that drive tangible impact and financial gain. MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customized services that deliver value to its customers. In doing so, the company uses information to create products and services in which privacy and security are fundamental to their design. A technology company that is an electronic payments leader, MasterCard is committed to the responsible use of information and pledges strong privacy protection for the transaction data the company processes. Its information management practices support the company’s mission to make payments safe, simple and smart. For more information, go to www.mastercardadvisors.com.About MasterCardMasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.