- The Washington Times - Monday, November 26, 2007

Online shopping registers might reach record numbers today as Internet retailers offer bargains on popular items such as Nintendo Wiis and high-definition televisions.

Online retailers have dubbed today Cyber Monday, claiming it as their own ceremonial start to the online shopping season, much as Black Friday started the season for brick-and-mortar stores.

Retailers have jumped on the Cyber Monday bandwagon in a big way this year. Macys.com offered free shipping with a $75 purchase for the first time ever; Walmart.com sliced $80 off the price of its XBox 360 Starter Bundle, lowering it to $399; and BananaRepublic.com offered 30 percent off winter apparel. Other sites, including Apple.com and JCPenney.com, offered free shipping. The deals are available online only and today only.

Many of the bargains are available through CyberMonday.com, a Web site set up by the National Retail Federation and Shop.org for the day.

ComScore Inc., a Reston Internet research company, expected online sales to exceed $700 million todaymonday, which would make it the heaviest online shopping day ever. ComScore based its estimate on online sales so far this year and historical consumer behavior.

“The Friday after Thanksgiving is known for heavy spending in retail stores, but its clear that consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet to make their holiday purchases,” said ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgonicq. “We can expect to see even stronger days ahead as the 2007 shopping season progresses into December.”

Online sales are expected to increase overall this holiday shopping season as shoppers get more accustomed to buying apparel and even shoes online. Also, more shoppers have broadband sted uc Internet access, making online shopping easier. Forrester Research Inc. anticipates that U.S. shoppers will spend $33 billion online from Thanksgiving to Christmas this year. That would represent a 21 percent increase from last year.

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