HOLIDAY SALES

Last-Minute Online Shopping Bonanza

This was the year of Internet sales, as the economy lagged and retailers pinned their hopes on online shoppers. In hopes of capitalizing on end-of-the-year holiday shopping, many stores held online sales on Christmas Day. Retailers were persuaded to withhold in-store sales in order to draw customers to their Web sites for last-minute holiday shopping. Larger chains, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, are taking a different route, offering deep discounts immediately after Christmas to lure customers to continue their shopping binges. Gift cards were a more popular-than-usual gift item this year, as inclement weather kept people indoors and away from malls. Some retailers offered same-day gift-card purchase and e-delivery, catering to the most last-minute of shoppers.