May 23, 2003, 12:00 AM

Q1 e-retail sales grow 26% from Q1 last year, Commerce Department reports

Q1 online sales reached $11.92 billion, up 26% from Q1 of 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau reported today in its quarterly measurement of e-retailing. The growth matches 2002 growth.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Online retail sales in the first quarter continued their pattern of growth from last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau reported today in its quarterly measurement of e-retailing. Q1 online sales reached $11.92 billion, up 26% from Q1 of 2002. E-retail sales in 2002 were 25.6% higher than 2001.

The Commerce Department bases its numbers on sales reported by retailers. It includes traditional retail merchandise and excludes travel, auction and event ticket sales.

Total retail sales for the first quarter of 2003 reached $772.2 billion, an increase of 4.4% from the same period a year ago, the Commerce Department reports.

Q1 2003 e-commerce sales decreased 13.4% from the fourth quarter of 2002 while total retail sales decreased 10.7% from the prior quarter.

Q1 e-commerce sales accounted for 1.5% of total sales, while in the first quarter of 2002 e-commerce sales were 1.3% of total sales. In the fourth quarter of 2002 e-commerce sales were 1.6% of total sales.

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