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Who cares what time the department store closes? The Direct Marketing Association expects the percentage of retail sales generated from catalogs and the Internet to almost double in the next five years, from 3.46 percent to 6.25 percent.

Not surprisingly, e-commerce players will record the greatest increase in sales. The DMA projects the Internet to ring up $11 billion this year, up from $5.9 billion a year ago. By 2004, sales on the Web are expected to reach $84.4 billion, with a compounded annual growth rate of 50 percent. Interactive advertising will follow the same trajectory. DMA forecasts Internet ad expenditures to grow at an annual rate of 45.7 percent and top $8.6 billion by 2004.

Don't discount the catalogers just yet. The industry is expected to pull in $93 billion in sales this year and more than $125 billion in five years. By 2004, the DMA predicts the catalog business will account for 3.7 percent of retail sales.

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