Turkey Day Online Sales Surge 28%

The classic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting depicting the proud grandmother placing the turkey on the table before a delighted family needs to be updated: someone should be on a laptop. Despite midnight openings and other door-busting deals steadily encroaching on the holiday, a giant 28 percent leap in online sales on actual Thanksgiving proves that the day once used for giving thanks, relaxing and watching football can no longer trump getting an early jump on holiday shopping.

E-commerce spending surged 28 percent on Thanksgiving Day over last year, according to comScore. That’s almost triple the rate of growth on the holiday in 2009. Total Internet spending on Thanksgiving and Black Friday jumped 16 percent this year.

"The percentage of overall sales online continues to climb and I expect that will continue indefinitely," said Jim Iuorio, a trader with TJM Institutional Services.

Shares of Amazon hit an all-time high today as the retailing figures rolled out. Amazon was highlighting new deals each day of Black Friday week. Shares of most other retailers declined. Iuorio cautioned that Amazon may be getting slightly rich here, and that he preferred Overstock.com, which also jumped today, as a trade. Shares of Fed-Ex climbed more than 3 percent on expectations for increased shipping volume.

But analysts were still out in force for Amazon and its Norman Rockwell image destroying strategy.


"Amazon stretched the holiday weekend by offering early discounts, days before Black Friday and is extending the weekend by offering Cyber Monday deals on thousands of products," said Jefferies Youssef Squali in a note today. He rates the shares a ‘buy’ writing, "Amazon’s reign goes uncontested."

Maybe it was the tryptophan, but the big box stores such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy suffered from the early jump in online sales.

"Consumers visibly cherry-picked these ‘door-buster’ deals, while store traffic, which had been strong a year ago, looked ‘OK’ and waned as the day went on," said Stephen Chick, hardline retail analyst for FBR Capital Markets. "We expect a lackluster performance for Best Buy’s stock price heading into the end of the year."

An under the radar play on the strong online sales could be Akamai Technologies, whose e-commerce software offerings will generate more than a third of its revenue this quarter, according to Goldman Sachs.

"ComScore data suggests a strong start to the holiday online shipping season," said Goldman analyst Derek Bingham. "This is a positive sign for Akamai’s e-commerce segment, which benefits from the growth in online traffic to its e-commerce customers."

Akamai was also up today as the rest of the market got pounded.

For the best market insight, catch ‘Fast Money’ each night at 5pm ET and the ‘Halftime Report’ each afternoon at 12:30 ET on CNBC. 

Ref: http://www.cnbc.com/id/40363304

John Melloy is the Executive Producer of Fast Money. Before joining CNBC, he was an editor for Bloomberg News, overseeing the U.S. Stock Market coverage team

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