Blame the Rich for Poor Online Sales

Sales for online retailers during the holiday season appear to have declined slightly from 2007, a calamity in an industry accustomed to growth of 20 percent or more. And it looks as though one group was keeping a tighter grip on its wallets than others: the wealthy.

Most retailers won’t disclose holiday sales figures until January. In the meantime, we’re left to piece together clues from third parties that track sales and Web traffic. MasterCard’s SpendingPulse unit reported last week that e-commerce sales were down two percent compared with last year, a figure that is in line with the one percent drop Internet-monitoring company comScore detected.

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