Private equity firm Apollo Global Management will take Rackspace private in the all-cash deal.
Leading online retailers reported brisk sales over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Shoppers flocked to e-commerce sites over the long Thanksgiving weekend, and didn’t stop when they went back to work today on what many call Cyber Monday.
Online retail sales were up 19.4% over the Monday after Thanksgiving last year as of 2 p.m. Central time for some 500 clients of web analytics firm Coremetrics, part of IBM.
Wine.com Inc., No. 229 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is among the retailers posting big gains over last year. Web sales increased 100% on Black Friday compared with the same day last year, and sales jumped 30% on the following Saturday and Sunday. The e-retailer offered 15% off a case or more of wine on Friday, and 1-cent shipping today.
The gains continued for Wine.com as consumers returned to work after the holiday weekend.
As of noon Central time today, Cyber Monday sales were up 25% compared with the same day last year. “For us Cyber Monday is almost twice as big as Black Friday,” says CEO Rich Bergsund. “But we probably have 10 days in December that are bigger than Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is a good indication of how things are starting, but our customers really wait to the last minute; we have a lot of fast shipping options. They really do wait to the last week.”
Online sales were up 46% over Cyber Monday last year as of 2 p.m. Central time today for retailer clients of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps retailers sell through online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, search engines and comparison shopping sites.
“The consumer is shopping online in a pretty aggressive way this holiday,” says ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo. “What we don’t know is if we’re frontloading the holiday or will just be a nice increase over the holiday. That’s what we’re eager to see.”
Other e-retailers also were finding sales spiking today. Jeff Wisot, Buy.com’s VP of marketing, says marketplace sales increased 100% on Black Friday, and were up 100% today as of 2:30 p.m. Central.
Brian Elliott, CEO of bookseller Alibris.com (No. 116) says holiday sales are going well and are higher than a year ago. He’s also optimistic that today’s sales will exceed sales from Friday. “Early indications are that Monday’s proving quite strong overall. Today is definitely looking bigger than Black Friday,” he says.
Plenty of pampered pets also will find gifts waiting under the tree come Christmas morning if the early sale trends witnessed at Drs. Foster and Smith (No. 105) continue. The e-retailer of pet products says weekend sales exceeded the company’s already high expectations. “Sales are strongly up and roaring throughout the day still today,” says Gordon Magee, the e-retailer’s Internet marketing and media manager. “We’re heading for our best day ever right now.”
Consumer electronics retailers also were smiling Monday. “We’re seeing our best sales in five years,” says Mayer Balser, chief operating officer and co-founder of consumer electronics retailer Etronics.com. “Our Thanksgiving weekend sales are probably up 30% to 40% over a year ago.”
Abt Electronics Inc. (No. 143) also saw a significant rise in online sales and at its one bricks-and-mortar location just outside Chicago. Co-president Jon Abt says sales placed online were up 60% from a year ago, and up 20% in the store. He also says he’s optimistic about the level of sales coming through Abt.com today.
Online shoppers are hardly forgetting about apparel and footwear. Shoebuy.com attracted more than half a million visitors on Black Friday, up 30% from last year, says James Keller, the company’s chief marketing officer. “Holiday shopping started early with a record strong October, and November has been even stronger with things becoming more and more robust as it gets further into the holiday season,” he adds.
Sales from Friday to Sunday were higher than expected at BostonProper.com, an e-commerce site for women’s apparel. Online sales were up more than 50% from Friday to Sunday compared with a year ago, says Margaret Moraskie, senior vice president of marketing. “We are looking for the strong trend to continue as we had a great November,” Moraskie says.
Meanwhile, a site redesign is one way to explain the healthy weekend had by jewelry retailer Ross-Simons.com, which experienced a double-digit increase in sales for the day after Thanksgiving compared with the same day last year.
“We invested in a site redesign in 2010 with a goal of making the site more engaging, improving search and navigation, and streamlining checkout,” a Ross-Simons spokeswoman says. “Since we launched the new site in October, we've seen a significant increase in new visitor conversion rates.”
More limited-time sales on the Amazon.com marketplace are helping boost results for retailers selling through Amazon, says Wingo of ChannelAdvisor, which helps many small and midsized retailers sell on Amazon and eBay. From Thursday through today, Amazon sales are up 68% over the same period last year, Wingo says.
He says Amazon is offering many more limited-time sales than it did last year, as many as three flash sales per hour over roughly 15 product categories.
“Amazon is probably offering 40 deals an hour,” Wingo says. “That is generating lots of social activity—I’m seeing lots of Twitter activity—and it’s front and center on the site. With 40 deals an hour you’re going to find lots of things that are interesting and stay on the site longer, and you may put some other stuff in the cart.”
Wingo says eBay sales are up about 10% over last year, and that eBay also is offering more hourly deals to generate shopper interest.
Overall, U.S. consumer visits to the top 500 retail sites increased 13% on Black Friday, says Experian Hitwise, a web measurement firm. For the sixth year in a row, Amazon was the retail site receiving the most traffic on Black Friday, with Walmart.com in second place. Walmart, Target and Sears were the top sites to receive traffic from Black Friday sites on Black Friday.