29° Good Morning
29° Good Morning

Blizzard keeps stores sparse but online shoppers busy

Crowds at stores on the snow-battered East Coast may have been sparse this weekend, but shoppers kept spending online.

Retail sales on the Internet rose 22.4 percent for the weekend compared with last year, Web research company Coremetrics said. On Saturday, sales were up 24.8 percent alone. The firm also showed the average shopper spending and ordering more on Saturday, when the weather's effects were deepest, than Friday. Even online sales yesterday morning were strong as shoppers raced to make purchases so they could be delivered by Christmas.

"This teaches consumers that maybe those of us that procrastinate, we still have time to go online very close to Christmas," said John Squire, Coremetrics' chief strategy officer.

Retailers were ready to prod those sales along. J.C. Penney, for example, offered free shipping through today.

Retail Web traffic peaked at 2.9 million visitors per minute Saturday night, according to the Akamai Retail Net Usage Index. That was up from 1.9 million on the Saturday before Christmas in 2008. The Sunday peak was 3.5 million visitors per minute, compared with 2.2 million on the Sunday before Christmas last year.

- AP

More news