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Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday: The "Online Black Friday" Signals Shift in U.S. Holiday Shopping Trends

U.S. retailers are hoping consumers' growing shift to online shopping will carry Black Friday's spending momentum through this week, which kicked off with Internet-only deals and discounts on yesterday's "Cyber Monday."

The Monday after Thanksgiving in the past few years has evolved into one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. The number of Cyber Monday shoppers has almost doubled in the past five years, from 59 million in 2005 to an estimated 106.9 million in 2010, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). 

Last year, shoppers spent $887 million on Cyber Monday, according to research firm comScore Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR), and analysts expect a higher turnout this year. 

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Retailers Report Disappointing Increase in Their In-Store Black Friday Sales, Despite Solid Jump in Online Results

Steep discounts in November and a surge in online purchases meant that retail sales moved only slightly higher on the opening day of the 2010 holiday shopping season - despite a nice increase in the number of shoppers who crowded retail stores.

Retail spending hit $10.69 billion on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, a 0.3% increase from the $10.66 billion in sales recorded on the day after Thanksgiving last year, reports ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based retail firm that tallies sales in more than 70,000 retail locations around the country.

However, ShopperTrak said the sales total was still a Black Friday record. The researcher is standing behind its prediction that holiday-season spending will rise 3.2%.

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Will Cyber Monday Success Set the Tone for the Holiday Season?

E-commerce sales on "Cyber Monday" - the first Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday - climbed to record levels this year, but that success doesn't necessarily mean the holidays will bring more cheer to retailers.

Virtually every retailer with an online presence dressed up its website with special offerings, and many of the bigger ones - RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH), Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) - sent out targeted e-mails offering their best customers discounts of up to 40% on Internet purchases. The tactics worked, as an estimated 96.5 million Americans went online Monday to buy everything from toys, books and music CDs to high-end fashions, jewelry and flat-screen TVs.

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