Cyber Monday sales jump; department stores shine

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 29, 2011 3:23 PM
Cyber Monday sales jump; department stores shine

By Alistair Barr

(Reuters) - Cyber Monday online sales jumped to a record, led by department stores and home goods retailers, according to U.S. data released on Tuesday.

Online sales climbed 33 percent versus Cyber Monday in 2010, said IBM Benchmark, a unit of International Business Machines.

Department stores saw online sales surge 60 percent this Cyber Monday, compared to last year, while sales of home goods climbed 68 percent, IBM Benchmark added.

Cyber Monday is traditionally the first Monday after Thanksgiving when employees return to offices and purchase items with their work computers.

In 2010, Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion, making it the heaviest day of online spending ever, according to comScore. This year, the firm expects Cyber Monday sales to exceed last year's tally. It releases data on Wednesday.

"Cyber Monday was the biggest day of the year and the biggest day ever for online retailing in the U.S.," said John Squire of IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative.

Department store operators including Nordstrom Inc, Macy's Inc and J.C. Penney Inc, have spent a lot personalizing their websites, online advertising and e-mails to customers, which paid off this year, Squire said.

Department stores have collected more data on which brands and products shoppers browse online. Combined with geographic information, the effort has helped companies recommend more relevant products, he added.

J.C. Penney and Macy's saw the biggest increases in web traffic among retailers in the past month, according to FreePriceAlerts, which tracks consumer goods prices online.

A major source of online traffic to J.C. Penney this Cyber Monday came from the company's mobile website. Consumers could buy on the mobile site this year, while they could not last year, according to a spokeswoman.

J.C. Penney and other department stores including Kohl's and Macy's, used Facebook a lot more this year to attract online shoppers.

J.C. Penney released its Black Friday deals on Facebook, allowing customers to browse the promotions, create shareable wish lists and send tips to friends.