There were so many reasons (Hurricane Sandy, Newtown, concerns over the fiscal cliff, Midwest blizzards, etc.) for retail sales to disappoint this past Christmas season, but one takeaway seems clear — merchants with strong online businesses were more likely to come away feeling the holiday cheer.
According to comScore, e-commerce spending for the entire holiday season grew to $42.3 billion, a 14 percent increase over the same period in 2011.
Amazon.com reported that both its core business and third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace enjoyed a record-setting holiday season. According to a company release, "unit growth solely from sellers in the U.S. increased more than 40 percent year-over-year."
Brick and click merchants saw overall numbers boosted by their online operations. Macy's Inc., for example, achieved a same-store increase of 4.1 percent in December. The department store operator, which includes online in its same store comparison, achieved a 51.7 percent gain from Macys.com and a 40.4 percent jump from Bloomingdales.com during the month.
"We are pleased with the significant progress we made this holiday season in implementing our omni-channel initiatives through a period of high sales volume," said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy's, Inc., in a statement. "Our new process for satisfying store and online orders through both our online fulfillment centers and fulfillment stores led us to make better use of our inventories and drive sales that otherwise would have been lost when we ran out of stock locally in certain items."
Were online sales ahead, in line or below your expectations for the 2012 holiday season?