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US retailers see 11% growth in Black Friday online sales

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November 27, known as Black Friday and the ‘official’ start of the Christmas shopping season in the US, saw online sales up 11% on a year ago, according to Comscore, with $595 million being spent online.

Overall, the first 27 days of the 2009 holiday season saw sales up 3% on last year, with $10.57 billion spent online.

“Black Friday, better known as a shopping bonanza in brick-and-mortar retail stores, is increasingly becoming one of the landmark days in the online holiday shopping world,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “The $595 million in online spending this Black Friday represents the second heaviest online spending day of the season-to-date and a double-digit increase from last year.”

“While this acceleration in spending suggests the online holiday season may be shaping up slightly more optimistically than anticipated,” Fulgoni continued, “it may also reflect the heavy discounting and creative promotions being put forth by retailers that now encompass the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Cyber Monday — the traditional kick-off to the online holiday shopping season — and the subsequent weeks will be the real test for how online retailers fare this season.”

Five retail properties surpassed four million US unique visitors on Black Friday, with each of these properties experiencing gains versus last year. Amazon sites were the most visited retail property on Black Friday, growing 28% from the corresponding shopping day a year ago, followed closely by Walmart, which grew 22%. worldwide sites (up 39 percent), Target Corporation (up 2 percent) and Best Buy sites (up 24 percent) rounded out the top five.

But, whilst the largest online retailers succeeded in keeping their sites up in the face of the consumer onslaught, several top retailers had serious problems keeping their sites online, reports StorefrontBacktalk in a comprehensive round-up of the retailers who experienced crashes on the day, adding that “the most significant initial glitches of Black Friday seemed to be owned by Staples and Kohl’s.”

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