BUSINESS

Cyber Monday arrives with online deals

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Numbers released by the National Retail Federation Sunday show that spending went up this Thanksgiving weekend compared to last year. But the numbers are far more encouraging for internet sales than they are for sales in physical stores.

Monday is the day that since 2005 has been called "Cyber Monday." For the last few years it has been the busiest online shopping day of the year.

The research firm comScore estimates that Americans will spend $1.5 billion today, up 20 percent from last year.

Amazon.com, which started Cyber Monday deals at midnight, is offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TV that's usually over $1,000.

Sears is offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399.

And Kmart is taking 75 percent off all diamond earrings. Shopper Matt Sexton, who plans to do it all online this season, says online product descriptions and reviews are better and it's getting much easier to return an online purchase to a brick-and-mortar store.

ComScore says $13.7 billion has been spent online so far for the holiday season. That's 16 percent more than last year.

The NRF says the number of people who said they were shopping online this past weekend jumped 32 percent from last year.

The amount the average shopper spent online was up, but the average amount spent away from the internet was basically flat.

Comscore reports that for the first time, sales on the internet topped $1 billion on Black Friday.

But the news is not as bright for traditional stores.

Some in the retail industry say crowds at stores on Black Friday were not as large as they've traditionally been. Retailers say part of the blame may be that some stores opened earlier than ever Thanksgiving night, and crowds who came out then may have stayed away Friday.

A number of folks ABC7 talked to in Georgetown Sunday night said they do most if not all of their Christmas shopping online.

"I feel as though you are more relaxed, you can find what you want at home," said Northeast resident Tyra Sellers.

"And I don't have to worry about parking," said Georgetown resident Kristen Conley.

But some people prefer traditional shopping.

"Tangible shopping is best for me,” said Ashley Stuart of Northwest. “Smelling, touching, personal interaction. You don't get that online."

Stores are hoping more shoppers start agreeing with Stuart. And for shoppers who don’t, many offered in-store only Black Friday deals to try to lure customers to get off their computer and go out to shop.

Stores may have to do more of that if they are to have anywhere near the growth the internet has seen so far this holiday season.

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