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Online spending surges on Black Friday

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — E-commerce spending jumped 26% on Black Friday, according to comscore.

Black Friday web sales totaled $816 million, up from $648 million last year, comScore reported.

“With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels," said Gian Fulgoni, chairman, comScore.

Fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, up 35% over last year, comScore said. Each of the top five retail sites reported double-digit gains in visitors, in percentage terms, led by top retail site Amazon. Walmart ranked second, followed by Best Buy, Target and Apple.

The report by comScore came two days after IBM Corp.’s Coremetrics unit, reported a smaller, 20% online spending gain for Black Friday.

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Thanksgiving weekend sales hit record high

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Retail sales broke records during the Thanksgiving weekend, climbing 16%, according to a survey by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation. Shoppers spent $52.4 billion, up from $45 billion last year.

A record 225 million shoppers visited stores and malls over the Black Friday weekend, up from 212 million last year. Shoppers on average spent $398.62, up from $365.34 last year, the NRF said.

Apparel and electronic sales were particularly strong, according to the NRF, as shoppers flocked to stores for early doorbuster deals.

“It’s a good, encouraging sign the consumer is out there despite all the distractions,” said Marshal Cohen, an analyst at NPD Group, in a Bloomberg report. “We’ll have an OK holiday.

However, Cohen and some analysts warned that the strong Thanksgiving holiday may simply have pulled sales forward from December.

Many retailers opened earlier than ever this year, with Macy’s, Target and Best Buy among the retailers opening at midnight. Given the strong sales and crowds the stores attracted, industry experts predicted the midnight start on Black Friday will become increasingly commonplace. The midnight opening was especially popular with teenagers and young adults.

“Now that we’re open at midnight, we’re getting an entirely different customer," Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren told Reuters, speaking of night owl shoppers under age 30.

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Shoppers gave thanks for online deals

BY CSA STAFF

RESTON, Va. — Retailers who promoted their online presence as a way to avoid the crowds this past weekend were rewarded for their efforts with record sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

The online measurement firm ComScore said Black Friday online sales increase 26% to $816 million and Thanksgiving Day sales increased 18% to $479 million. Both figures are noteworthy as physical retailers also recorded a record turnout and sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Including the online sales from the weekend, ComScore puts online sales for the first 25 days of November at roughly $12.7 billion, or 15% more than last year.

“Despite some analysts’ predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce with more than $800 million in spending,” ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. “With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels.”

Fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, representing an increase of 35%, versus a year ago, and each of the top five retail sites (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple) achieved double-digit gains in visitors compared to last year, according to ComScore.

“Amazon.com once again led the pack, with 50% more visitors than any other retailer, while also showing the highest growth rate versus last year,” Fulgoni said. “However, it is telling that the top multi-channel retailers also showed strong growth in visitors, demonstrating the importance of the online channel to the retail industry as a whole.”

The same traffic trends and record sales likely are to be evident on Cyber Monday with most retailers running online only specials and filling inboxes with email marketing promotional efforts. Last year, Cyber Monday was the heaviest day of online spending ever with sales exceeding $1 billion and ComScore expects a new record will be achieved this year.

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