ComScore expects U.S. e-commerce holiday sales to rise 16 percent

Reuters

NEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) - ComScore Inc, ananalytics firm whose data is closely watched by Wall Street, onTuesday predicted U.S. e-commerce sales will grow 16 percent to$55.2 billion this holiday season.

The forecast echoes that of Forrester Research whichestimated that e-commerce will grow 15 percent, fueled bybargain hunters using the Internet to look for deals, retailersoffering shoppers more ways to pick up orders, and consumersusing mobile devices more as they shop.

Last year e-commerce sales rose 14 percent.

Success online is crucial for retailers to do well thisholiday season, when they typically get 30 percent of annualsales, all the more so given how much faster e-commerce isgrowing than sales in stores.

The National Retail Federation has said it expects overallretail sales to rise 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion.

In a bid to compete with online retail giant Amazon.com, retailers have increased shoppers' options for pickingup orders. For the first time, Macy's Inc is lettingshoppers pick up in-store what they order online, while Gap Inc has expanded its program that lets shoppers reserveitems in-store from their computers.

Many chains, like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Macy's andKohl's Corp, are using their stores to fill orders tospeed delivery of online orders.

ComScore said Cyber Monday, traditionally the busiest onlineshopping day that follows the long Thanksgiving weekend, shouldsee total sales surpass $2 billion. (Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by PhilBerlowitz)

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