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Black Friday rings up more online and mobile sales

In this Nov. 29, 2010 file photo, Consumer Carol Uyeno looks at Cyber Monday sales on her computer at her home in Palo Alto, Calif.

Paul Sakuma/Paul Sakuma/AP

Online retail sales in the United States on the post-Thanksgiving shopping day known as "Black Friday" jumped 26 per cent this year, led by Amazon Inc. , comScore said on Sunday.

Black Friday online sales reached $816-million, making it the heaviest spending day on the Internet so far in 2011, according to comScore, a closely watched tracker of Internet activity.

Year-over-year growth on Black Friday in 2010 was 9 per cent, so this year's 26 per cent sales increase online was much stronger, the firm also noted.

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A separate report from IBM's Coremetrics also showed a tripling in sales via mobile devices, the highest share of sales coming from iPad-using deal-hunters.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers offered big Black Friday discounts much earlier this year and some companies opened stores late on Thanksgiving for the first time, hoping to grab more of the action on what is a crucial shopping day for the industry.

That sparked some speculation that online retailers may lose some sales, but comScore said that did not happen.

"With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it's clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels," comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said.

Fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, representing an increase of 35 per cent versus a year ago, comScore data showed.

Each of the top five retail websites saw double-digit gains in visitors versus last year, led by Wal-Mart ranked second, followed by Best Buy, Target and Apple, comScore said.

" once again led the pack, with 50 per cent more visitors than any other retailer, while also showing the highest growth rate versus last year," Mr. Fulgoni said.

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Mr. Fulgoni forecast another record for online sales on Cyber Monday, which is traditionally the first day after Thanksgiving when employees return to offices and purchase items with their work computers.

Last year, Cyber Monday sales topped $1-billion, making it the heaviest day of online spending ever, according to comScore.

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