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'Cyber Monday' projected to increase holiday sales

November 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
It was a record-breaking "Black Friday" and Thanksgiving weekend for retail sales, but was "Cyber Monday" just as successful?

What a way to kick off the holiday shopping season: fights, mayhem and new sales records over the Black Friday weekend, even though the economy is still weak.

"The consumer is basically saying, 'You know what? We've got frugal fatigue. We're tired of not spending,'" said Marshal Cohen, an industry analyst for the NPD Group.

So spend they did.

According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales were up more than 16 percent from 2010, with shoppers spending an average of nearly $400 each over the weekend.

Macy's was among those retailers with great success, and another winner was Kohl's.

Record Black Friday sales brought encouraging news for the economy. The stock market did well Monday.

But is this shopping momentum sustainable? As long as retailers continue to offer bargains sales, that will get shoppers in the stores.

If you're shopping online, they not only have to offer discounts, but also free shipping.

"Ninety-three percent of merchants are offering free shipping this holiday season, so you don't have to pay for the shipping, you don't have to pay for gas, you don't have to fight the crowds in stores," said Regina Novickis, PromotionalCodes.com.

As of midday Monday, PayPal reported a 514-percent increase in mobile payment volume this year versus last year.

But it's not only sales numbers that are encouraging: The Dow Jones industrial average surged nearly 300 points.

The European Union looks like it's closer to figuring out a way to contain its financial troubles.

And new home sales in the U.S. are building. Although a long way from recovering, the troubled housing market can use the boost. New home sales increased 1.3 percent last month, and each new home built creates an average of three jobs for a year.

But while all of this is very good news for the economy, we're still a long way from total recovery.

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