Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Online sales spike on a less chaotic Black Friday in US

AFP, WASHINGTON

The top US “shopping holiday” saw a surge this year in online sales, with smaller crowds in stores — but Black Friday still brought some of its trademark shopping mall pandemonium.

An early report from commercial analyst ChannelAdvisor Corp showed up to a 22 percent increase in Black Friday online shopping compared to last year.

The firm also reported a 20 percent increase in online sales on Thanksgiving Day. For the first time, the majority of online sales came from mobile devices, a report by IBM said.

“Online shopping started while turkeys were still in the oven and yesterday was our second-highest online sales day ever — topped only by Cyber Monday last year,” top Wal-Mart Stores Inc executive Laura Phillips said on Friday.

The largest day of online sales typically comes on the Monday following Black Friday, when stores offer a number of online-only discounts.

In US shopping malls, there were shorter lines and fewer packs of frenzied shoppers on Thursday night and Friday, US media reported.

Still, several people were injured and three were arrested after a shopping fight early on Friday morning at a department store in southern California, reports said.

This year, the shopping day was also caught up in a furor over the decision not to indict the police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Missouri. Black public figures called for Black Friday boycotts, and in Ferguson, Missouri, where the killing took place, protests briefly shut down a local mall.

In Seattle, protesters chained a mall’s doors closed, and in San Francisco, hundreds rallied and a police officer was injured by a bottle thrown at a police car, local media reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, the FBI estimated it hit more than 144,000 background checks for Black Friday gun sales, CNN reported. Black Friday is one of the busiest days for gun sales in the US, the FBI said.

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