Web sales spike after snowstorm

By Emily Fredrix
Associated Press / December 22, 2009

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Stores in the snow-battered East Coast may have been nearly empty this weekend, but shoppers kept spending online. Retailers spurred sales with new discounts and shipping offers to make sure gifts arrive by Christmas.

The storm that battered the East Coast may have put at least a $2 billion dent in “Super Saturday,’’ which usually accounts for $15 billion worth of sales nationwide, according to weather research firm Planalytics.

Mall traffic was down 10 percent on Saturday, but it surged 65 percent Friday night as more people went out before the storm. Retailers of must-have items like Toys ‘R’ Us and one-stop shops like Wal-Mart are poised to recover the lost sales better than the rest of industry, Planalytics said yesterday.

But not all shopping was lost. Many shoppers like Tina Bashline turned on their computers to whittle down their Christmas lists. She bought gifts for eight people from her home in Newtown, Pa., where more than a foot of snow fell.

Online retail sales rose 22.4 percent for the weekend compared with last year, Web research company Coremetrics said.

Even online sales yesterday morning were strong as shoppers raced to make purchases so they could be delivered by Christmas.

A LOOK at shipping deadlines for major online retailers to guarantee delivery by Christmas. Today for two-day and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow for one-day shipping. Some gifts can be ordered and delivered Christmas Eve with local express shipping in certain cities like New York and Seattle. Tomorrow, for one-day shipping before Christmas. Today for standard shipping; today for one-day shipping.
Associated Press