Black Friday Sales Gains Higher Online Than in Stores

While Black Friday deals on laptops and HDTVs helped to lure shopp

ers to stores and online sites over the weekend, it's still unclear whether sales of consumer electronics products really brought retailers much holiday cheer.

Across all product categories, including electronics, spending at stores and Web sites from Nov. 26 to No. 29 rose a scant 0.5 percent to $41.2 billion from the year before, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The biggest sales gains seem to have sprung up online, particularly for consumer electronics products.

Shoppers lined up for hours in the wee hours of Friday morning at Wal-Mart stores in hopes of scoring a $198 e-Machine or $298 HP laptop before supplies ran out.

Meanwhile, though, Internet sales shot up 11 percent from a year ago to $595 million, according to Comscore. A total of five sites attracted for than four million visitors each, including tech-specific Best Buy Sites and Apple.com Worldwide Sites along with Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target.

At BestBuy's brick-and-mortar stores, early morning shopping crowds were bigger this year than last year, said CEO Brian Dunn, in a Bloomberg TV interview.

But a check of Apple Stores suggested that Black Friday sales of Macs could actually show a year-over-year decline, according to Apple Insider.

With prices down on products ranging from flat panel TVs to clothing and toys, average spending per consumer -- across both brick-and-mortar and online stores -- dropped to $343.31 from a total of $372.57 a year ago, the NRF said.

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