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Online Sales rise on Black Friday, with Amazon offering Steepest Discounts among E-Commerce Sites

Online shopping continued to grow, with Adobe saying that Black Friday was on track to set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time

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Washington, Nov 26, 2016: US online sales surged on Black Friday, with Amazon.com Inc offering the steepest discounts among e-commerce sites as it set the agenda for what has traditionally been the biggest shopping day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Though in-store customer traffic picked up in the afternoon, it paled in comparison to the jump in online sales, NBC news cited analysts as saying.

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Macy’s Inc’s website crashed as it saw heavy traffic on Friday. It had to delay customers from entering the site at three different times.

Online sales on Friday hit $1.70 billion as of 3 p.m., according to Adobe Digital Index, after reaching $1.13 billion on Thursday, up almost 14 percent from a year ago.

The National Retail Federation expects total sales this holiday season to increase by 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion, mainly due to the rise in online shopping.

This weekend’s shopping could reflect signs of faster economic growth in the fourth quarter this year.

Administrative assistant Kelsey Gilford, 52, was shopping at Chicago’s Water Tower mall on Friday but had already made purchases online on Thursday.

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“I looked at some online deals on J.C. Penney which were good. I bought a small kitchen appliance yesterday (Thursday),” she said.

Amazon.com Inc offered a 42 percent off, compared with 33 per cent off at Walmart, 35 per cent at Target and 36 percent at Best Buy.

Amazon said Black Friday would surpass last year in terms of the number of items ordered on its website. The Seattle-based company declined to provide specifics.

Online shopping continued to grow, with Adobe saying that Black Friday was on track to set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time.

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It is also expected to become the first day in US retail history to drive over a billion dollars from mobile sales.

Mobile accounted for 40 per cent of sales, with 29 per cent from smartphones, and 11 per cent for tablets.

Combined with Thursday’s $1.93 in online sales on Thanksgiving, the two days are expected to close out at nearly $5 billion in sales.

Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director, Adobe Digital Insights, said: “We expect Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history with $3.36 Billion.”

Meanwhile, UK shoppers also rushed to buy Black Friday bargains, as retailers and payment firms reported strong sales.

Barclaycard said it had seen a record number of transactions on Friday, while Argos, John Lewis and Currys PC World reported a surge in orders, BBC reported.

In the UK, analysts expect sales on Friday to have topped last year’s 1.9 billion pound, with people hunting for discounts ahead of an expected rise in prices next year.

“The Black Friday promotions at the end of November are the start of a longer, more drawn-out peak season, which begins with most of the activity online and then moves in-store as we get closer and closer to Christmas day,” said Richard Jenkings, data analyst at credit reference agency Experian. (IANS)

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Department of Homeland Security Does Not Doubt Statements of Tech Giants Regarding China Hack

Apple contested the Bloomberg report Thursday, saying its own internal investigations found no evidence to support the story’s claims.

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CPU chips are seen at a recycling facility in Tokyo in October 2010.. VOA

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Saturday it currently had no reason to doubt statements from companies that have denied a Bloomberg report that their supply chains were compromised by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence services.

“The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise,” DHS said in a statement.

“Like our partners in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre, at this time we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story,” it said.

Department of Homeland Security
Customers look at iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones at an Apple Store in San Francisco, California, Sept. 22, 2017. (VOA)

Bloomberg Businessweek on Thursday cited 17 unidentified intelligence and company sources as saying that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by around 30 companies, as well as multiple U.S. government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.

Apple and Amazon

Britain’s national cyber security agency said Friday it had no reason to doubt the assessments made by Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc challenging the report.

Apple contested the Bloomberg report Thursday, saying its own internal investigations found no evidence to support the story’s claims and that neither the company, nor its contacts in law enforcement, were aware of any investigation by the FBI on the matter.

Department of Homeland Security
Experts: Cyber attacks Growing Increasingly Sophisticated. Pixabay

Apple’s recently retired general counsel, Bruce Sewell, told Reuters he called the FBI’s then-general counsel, James Baker, last year after being told by Bloomberg of an open investigation of Super Micro Computer Inc, a hardware maker whose products Bloomberg said were implanted with malicious Chinese chips.

Also Read: Apple And Amazon Deny Chinese ‘Spy’ Chips Into Their Network

“I got on the phone with him personally and said, ‘Do you know anything about this?” Sewell said of his conversation with Baker. “He said, ‘I’ve never heard of this, but give me 24 hours to make sure.’ He called me back 24 hours later and said ‘Nobody here knows what this story is about.” Baker and the FBI declined to comment Friday. (VOA)