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Dot-com holidays 'sizzle'

The blizzard that struck the Northeast, along with snows in other parts of the country may help light up the holiday season for e-tailers and catalog operations.

Although Christmas is still 10 days away, the early part of this week effectively marks the season's wrap for most direct marketers, save the express delivery orders for procrastinating shoppers.

So far, most reports indicate that sales in the direct-to-customer channel have sizzled, making this season bright.

L.L. Bean saw last week's sales up ten percent over the prior period, helped by the blizzard along by the Eastern seaboard the first weekend in December. That steered "huge droves of people on-line," said Rich Donaldson, spokesperson. "It was an unprecedented weekend for e-commerce."

The company will finish the season better than last year, he added, with sales driven by traditional and cold-weather products.

It wasn't necessarily that way across the board.

Hanover Direct, parent company of Domestications and The Company Store, saw the season perform "a little bit better than expected," said John DiFrancesco, president, The Company Store Group.

"We were conservative going in." Customers were looking for discounts this year, he added, and the company was "very value and promotion oriented."

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