Online sales get holiday boost

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America Online said its December sales will reach $150 million this year, double last year's sales for the same period. Among the hottest selling items are holiday arrangements from 1-800-FLOWERS, a coffee sampler from Starbucks Coffee Co., and filet mignon from Omaha Steaks. AOL attributes the boost in holiday sales to a surge in new online shoppers, the ease and convenience of features such as a last-minute gift shop, and its merchant partners' increasingly sophisticated use of the medium to target specific shoppers.

Separately, 1-800-FLOWERS said it will see more than 100% growth in online purchases over last year's shopping, with about 8% of phone customers saying they used the Web site as an electronic catalog before calling. A survey by the flower company also showed a 25% increase of women shoppers online and a decreased concern with credit card security - less than one-third were concerned as opposed to almost 75% of shoppers who were concerned last year.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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