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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Online holiday sales made up for a slack mid-year for Internet retailers, according to just-released Forrester Research figures, as credit union online bankers and consumers in general made the “virtual cash registers” ring. Holiday sales hit $14.4 billion through the online channel, a 30% increase over the year-ago holidays figure of $13.2 billion. About $137 billion in online sales was recorded for the year in 2004, about a 20% increase over 2003, according to Carrie Johnson of the research and advisory firm. Helping drive the year-end rally were early promotions and late gift card offers by major retailers as they made their moves into data-driven merchandising, Johnson said, citing such factors as a 30% increase by Best Buy in online gift card sales over the year ago.

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