December 16, 2009, 12:00 AM

Online retail sales set a single-week record, comScore says

Online retail sales totaled $4.74 billion for the week ended Sunday, topping the previous one-week best of $4.70 billion set in December 2007, comScore says.

E-retailers were riding high in December 2007, just before the recession began to take hold. But they’re riding higher-at least in terms of total sales-in December 2009, as online retail sales for the week ended Sunday set a single-week record, reports web tracker comScore Inc.

E-retailers sold $4.744 billion in the week ended Dec. 13, exceeding the previous high of $4.70 billion recorded during the week that ended Dec. 16, 2007, comScore says. Last week’s sales represented a 4% increase from $4.544 billion in the comparable week in 2008. Sales for the holiday season, Nov. 1-Dec. 13, are also up 4% over the same period last year, totaling $20.721 billion this year versus $20.017 billion last year, according to comScore.

“This most recent week began with five consecutive strong online spending days surpassing $700 million, followed by a fairly upbeat weekend,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Six weeks into the online holiday shopping season and with a cumulative growth rate of 4%, we are tracking slightly above our forecast of a 3% growth rate versus year ago, which appears to be partially attributable to continued heavy promotional activity among retailers.”

Fulgoni notes that, while some reports suggested retailers had less inventory than usual and would not discount as heavily as last year late in the holiday season, offers were up 21% last week at ShopLocal.com, a site that posts weekly advertising circulars from major retail chains. ComScore says this past Monday, Dec. 14, likely was the heaviest online shopping day of the year, and possibly the heaviest single day ever. ComScore will release its estimate for Monday’s sales later this week.

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