Q4 E-Commerce Sales Rise 28%

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U.S. retail e-commerce sales for fourth-quarter 2002 totaled $14.33 billion, up 28.2 percent from the year-ago period, the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce said yesterday.


October-to-December sales rose 29.3 percent compared with the preceding third-quarter estimates.


Also, the bureau estimated total e-commerce sales for 2002 at $45.6 billion, up 26.9 percent from 2001.


By contrast, total retail sales for the fourth quarter rose only 1.6 percent to $869.6 billion compared with the 2001 Q4. Fourth-quarter sales vs. the third quarter increased 5.1 percent. Total retail sales in 2002 increased 3.1 percent from 2001.


The census bureau did not comment on the fourth-quarter vs. third-quarter increase of total retail performance, though it is expected the holidays influenced higher fourth-quarter sales.


The online retail numbers were not adjusted for seasonal, holiday and trading-day differences.


Despite the growth of e-commerce, Q4 online sales accounted for 1.6 percent of all retail sales, up from 1.3 percent in the same period a year ago. The Internet drew 1.3 percent of all retail sales in the third quarter. For the year 2002, e-commerce accounted for 1.4 percent of total sales, up from 1.1 percent in 2001.


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