Online Sales Fall for Two Straight Quarters

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U.S. retail e-commerce sales dipped 1.8 percent to $7.458 billion in the second quarter after plummeting 14.5 percent in the January-March period, according to figures released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Online purchases as a percentage of total retail sales were 0.92 percent in the second quarter, down from 1.04 percent in the first three months of 2001. Online purchases accounted for 0.77 percent of total retail sales in second-quarter 2000.


Though online sales have fallen two quarters in a row, total retail sales in the second quarter were up 10.8 percent to $807.5 billion from the prior quarter, the Census Bureau reported. This was a 3.8 percent rise from second-quarter 2000.


Domestic retail e-commerce sales in the second quarter of 2001 were up 24.7 percent from year-ago sales of $5.982 billion.


The estimate was not adjusted for seasonal, holiday and trading-day differences, which can cause swings in buying behavior.


The Census Bureau used random sampling of 11,000 retail firms whose sales were weighted and benchmarked to reflect more than 2 million retailers nationwide. These firms are asked to report monthly e-commerce sales separately.


The second-quarter 2001 e-commerce sales figure versus the year-ago period had a 2.4 percent margin of error, with a range of minus 0.6 percent to plus 4.2 percent.


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