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Online holiday sales off to solid start

Los Angeles — The first day of the holiday shopping season — the day after Thanksgiving — was a good one, according to research groups. said it saw online sales just 61 percent over the same day in 2001, with sales of $234.2 million reported by a network of more than 2,000 online retailing merchants. Nielsen/NetRatings said that 18 percent more surfers shopped online on Black Friday, with virtual department stores drawing 3.2 million unique visitors, shopping aggregators more than 2.5 million and consumer electronics some 838,000. Value-oriented sites and the toys & games categories rounded out Nielson's top five with 738,000 and 603,000 unique visitors, respectively. Home and garden sites drew 226,000 unique visitors, down 6 percent from last year, putting the category in ninth place.

BizRate, a provider of e-commerce research, reported today that online shopping was healthy throughout November, with sales during the period from Nov. 1 to Nov. 29 up 37 percent compared to a year ago.

"Consumers in this ho-hum economy are ho-ho-ho-ing about the number of deals and special offers made available to them this year," said Chuck Davis, president and ceo.

BizRate is forecasting online holiday sales of $8,0 billion, up 25 percent from last year. Fourth quarter online shopping should jump 35 percent to $16.8 billion, the company said.

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