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Web shopping busts Black Friday record

ONLINE holiday shopping hit a record for Black Friday in the United States, several days before the retail industry-coined Cyber Monday got underway, as more consumers said they sought Web deals.

The strong start for Web retailers should continue into what is otherwise expected to be a lackluster holiday season, benefiting, Wal-Mart Stores Inc's online unit and Google Inc, analysts said.

Analytics firm comScore said on Sunday that US online spending on Black Friday was the strongest it has ever been, up 11 percent over the prior year, with US$595 million spent online.

Sales at retail stores rose 0.5 percent to US$10.66 billion on that day, the official kick-off to holiday shopping, according to ShopperTrak.

?¨That??s pretty significant in a recessionary environment - to get a record like that and be that far ahead,? said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. ?¨I still expect Monday should be a much bigger day online than Black Friday.?

Cyber Monday is the day when many consumers head back to work after the US Thanksgiving weekend and use fast Internet connections to make holiday purchases, away from the prying eyes of spouses and children. The day has always spurred a flood of special online offers, but this year more are showing up even earlier, experts said.

Forrester Research has estimated that US online sales in November and December should rise 8 percent this year, up from a 5 percent rise in the year-ago period.


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