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A strong weekend for U.S. online sales

Staff Report • Dec 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

In a rare bright spot for the U.S. retail industry, e-commerce sites had a strong Thanksgiving weekend, with online sales from Friday through Monday up 13 percent, compared with sales in the same period last year, according to data by comScore.

According to a report by the International Herald Tribune, the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday was the second-heaviest online spending day on record, comScore said, behind only Dec. 10, 2007.

Online sales climbed to $846 million, up 15 percent from the previous year.

"It was higher than I would have anticipated, but I'm not entirely surprised - just because the level of discounting was so aggressive," said Andrew Lipsman, a senior industry analyst at comScore, which tracks a variety of Internet data.

Still, strong Web sales are unlikely to bail out the retail industry, which is contending with a recession and a sharp decline in consumers' wealth. E-commerce accounts for only 7 percent of overall sales, according to Shop.org, the e-commerce arm of the National Retail Federation. And online sales were down 2 percent for the season so far - the first decline since the Web became a significant retail channel.

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