Web retailers may thrive in holidays

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Online retailers are apt to be more resilient during the slow economy this holiday season than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, according to a study conducted by shopping search engine Shopzilla for Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation.

More than half of online retailers expect their holiday sales to increase at least 15% over last year, according to the study. How­ever, the rate of growth is slowing — 77.5% of retailers surveyed last year expected their sales to grow more than 15%.

The primary reason online retail is expected to weather the economic storm better than offline is because of the ease which consumers can comparison-shop online, said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org.

“The convenience of shopping online also is a factor why people enjoy shopping online, but not as much as the cost savings Internet retail represents,” he said.

Despite an increase in transportation costs, retailers do not plan to cut back on popular free shipping promotions, Silverman said.

This year, 78% of retailers plan to offer free shipping with conditions at some point during the holiday season, consis­tent with last year's levels.

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