Online holiday shopping slows

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E-tailers had a hard time in 2000 winning back consumer confidence and discretionary purchases from consumers soured by poor holiday shopping experiences in 1999. By late year, many high-fliers-including fashion-forward site, as well as, and "going out of business" signs on their home pages and held fire sales to dump inventory in an effort to recoup some of the millions invested into the businesses. Many would-be Internet shoppers sat out the 2000 holiday season as well. What looked like a well-tuned holiday shopping season lost momentum as the season progressed. For the week ended Dec. 3, online sales rose only 50% year over year, down from a jump of 140% the week before, indicating a slowdown as Christmas approached, according to an early December survey commissioned by Goldman Sachs

Analysts noted that many consumers hedged their bets, spending more money with bricks-and-clicks outfits such as Kmart Corp.'s rather than taking their chances with pure-play e-tailers.

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