Web sales yesterday rose 21 percent from 2012, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) said in a statement. Retailers catering to smartphone and tablet users benefited the most, with mobile traffic accounting for 32 percent of site visits, a 45 percent gain from a year earlier.
Online spending increased 15 percent to a record $1.2 billion on Black Friday, according to research by ComScore Inc. (SCOR) Still, because of the in-store slump, total purchases fell 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion during the four days beginning with the Nov. 28 Thanksgiving holiday, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation.
The results reinforced declining investor optimism about U.S. holiday sales, as signaled by the performance of two small-cap stock groups. The Russell 2000 Consumer Discretionary Index has trailed the Russell 2000 Consumer Staples Index by 1.7 percentage points since Nov. 25, reversing almost a third of its relative gains during the prior two months.