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Which Stock Can Keep Up Its Holiday Sales Streak?

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/12/02/which-stock-can-keep-up-its-holiday-sales-streak.aspx

Tamara Rutter
December 2, 2011

U.S. retailers kicked off the holiday shopping season with a record start, during Thanksgiving weekend -- pulling in $52.4 billion, up from $45 billion a year ago. This week the focus shifted to e-commerce as retail websites offered Cyber Monday deals for a one-day Internet sales event. Let's look at the seven largest online retailers to find out which company has the best chance of sustaining its holiday momentum.

The lineup 
The following companies should continue to enjoy strong sales through the beginning of this week, as shoppers take advantage of in-store deals and online promotions.

Company

2010 Web Sales

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) $34.2 billion
Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS  ) $10.2 billion
Wal-Mart $4.1 billion
Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD  ) $3.1 billion
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) $2.5 billion
Costco Wholesale (Nasdaq: COST  ) $1.7 billion
Target (NYSE: TGT  ) $1.4 billion

 Source: Top500Guide.com.

The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, showed a 26% increase in online retail sales. Amazon led the boost in Web sales, with 50% more visitors to its site than any other retailer, according to comScore.

Amazon, along with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy, saw double-digit increases of site visitors, compared to the previous year.

Shopping made easy
Staples got a head start this season by offering special deals as early as Nov. 7, including free shipping, which was available for the first time this year. The office-supply company also launched a special mobile website, providing more ways for customers to shop.

Wal-Mart dubbed this week "Cyber Week" in hopes of driving more online sales to compete with top dog Amazon. Meanwhile, Best Buy's strong sales were helped by taking its Cyber Monday deals live Sunday night. Similarly, an enhanced mobile experience and ramped-up website helped Sears stores.

Extended discounts
While all of these retailers saw increased performance online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most won't be able to maintain the momentum for long. Only Amazon, Staples, and Target are advertising monthlong discounts.

Target looks promising with its "25 Days of Toys" campaign, which it's promoting on its website. Throughout the season, Target plans to offer more than 2,000 discounts on toys in addition to the offerings in its holiday toy catalogue, with savings worth up to $350. Competitive price-value relationships like these should help Target steal shoppers from other retailers.

Staples.com will feature weekly deals on select merchandise, although it lacks the strong marketing angle of Target's promotions. Amazon is offering Cyber Monday-style daily deals