Online holiday sales make an eleventh hour surge

Shares of,, and
rose yesterday after the Internet retailers` price cuts and other promotions resulted in last-minute sales boosts last week.
Internet sales in the week ending Sunday rose 91 percent, to $1.08 billion from $568.7 million in the comparable week last year, said Inc., which tracks consumer ratings of Web merchants.
Online sales were lower than forecast from the end of November until last week, when the companies marked down prices and offered discounted or free shipping. While the promotions may help the Web retailers meet revenue forecasts, they also reduce profit on each sale. That may mean larger losses in the fourth quarter.
``Growth was good, but it wasn`t nearly what was anticipated and what many retailers needed to get over the hump,`` said Seth Geiger, a
vice president.
Shares of Seattle-based rose $1.38, or 8.8 percent, to $16.94. Yahoo climbed $1.63 to $31.19., a seller of computers, wireless telephones, and other items, rose 31 cents to 81 cents.
Yahoo said orders placed through its US shopping sites almost doubled, and orders to sites outside the United States increased more than sixfold, compared with a year earlier., the biggest Internet retailer, said it shipped more than 31 million items during its holiday sales season, compared with 20 million shipped last year. The company said, however, that the numbers were from different time periods and should not be taken as a measure of financial performance.
Traditional retailers that opened Internet stores were among the winners during the holiday season and may have drawn sales away from less-well-known companies selling only on the Internet, analysts said., a venture between Kmart and a Softbank Corp. affiliate, said holiday sales were up more than elevenfold from a year earlier.
Wal-Mart Stores` revamped Web site was the sixth-most visited retail site last week, with 419,000 shoppers, an almost eightfold increase from a year earlier, according to Media Metrix, which tracks Internet usage.
Not all Internet retailers did well during the holiday season. EToys Inc. this month said sales may be half of the $210 million to $240 million forecast for its fiscal third quarter, which ends Dec. 31.
EToys was among Internet retailers holding clearance sales to get rid of unsold merchandise. It cut prices by up to 75 percent.