December 23, 2009, 12:00 AM

As snow falls, online sales rise 13% over the last weekend before Christmas

Last weekend’s big snowstorm helped online sales for the week post a 6% gain, making it the biggest single week in e-retail history, comScore says. For the holiday season, e-retail sales are up 4%.

Online retailers can easily spot the silver lining in the huge snowstorm that blanketed must of the eastern portion of the nation last weekend: sales shot up 13% compared to the final weekend before Christmas last year, reports web measurement firm comScore Inc.

That helped boost online retail sales to a 6% gain for the week that ended Sunday, Dec. 20, and eclipsing the record for the biggest single week in e-retail history, a record set just two weeks ago, according to comScore.

“The major snowstorms hitting the Eastern seaboard over the weekend appear to have given holiday e-commerce an additional boost, resulting in the heaviest online spending week on record at $4.8 billion,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Consumers have clearly continued to spend online later into the season this year, with several very strong spending days in the most recent week including the heaviest online spending day in history-Tuesday, Dec. 15 with $913 million. Retailers have been very aggressive with late season promotions while informing consumers that they could still get their purchases shipped in time for Christmas, and these tactics seem to be paying off.”

Sales for the week ended Dec. 20 totaled $4.803 billion, compared with $4.532 billion during the comparable week last year. Weekend sales came in at $767 million, up 13% from $677 million last year, comScore say.

For the first 50 days of the holiday season-Nov. 1-Dec. 20-comScore says online sales total $25.524 billion, up 4% from $24.550 billion during the comparable period last year.

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