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Online sales disappointing

December 17, 2007|From Bloomberg News

U.S. Internet sales gained 18% this holiday season after retailers slashed prices and offered free shipping to lure consumers seeking bargains.

Online spending from Nov. 1 through Dec. 14 increased to $22.7 billion, research firm ComScore Inc. said. Web sales in November and December may advance 20%, a record low.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Toys R Us Inc. and Best Buy Co. offered discounts of 50% or more and promoted in-store sales to attract customers grappling with $3-a-gallon gasoline and consumer prices that rose the most in more than two years in November. U.S. retailers may see the worst sales growth this holiday season since 2002.

"Consumers are waiting for that next big discount," Larry Freed, chief executive of research firm ForeSee Results Inc., said Friday.

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