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U.S. Online Sales Up 26.3% In 2003, Report Says

By Agence France-Presse U.S. online retail sales jumped 26.3% in 2003 to $54.9 billion as the Internet grabbed an increasing share of overall sales, the government reported Feb. 23. E-commerce accounted for 1.6% of all retail sales last year, up from 1.3% in 2002, according to the Commerce Department. The report showed the Internet continues to grow at a fast pace as a retail channel, outstripping by far overall retail sales, which were up 5.4% for the year. For the fourth quarter, the report said unadjusted retail e-commerce sales were $17.2 billion, an increase of 25.1% from the fourth quarter of 2002. That amounted to 1.9% of total retail sales for the fourth quarter of $918.2 billion. Surveys on online spending vary greatly, with differing definitions of the holiday season and online purchases. Government figures, for example, exclude travel bookings and some other services online. Forrester Research last year predicted e-commerce sales of as much as $100 billion in 2003. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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