Amazon Leads Online Sales Boom

Morning Business Memo:

A boom in holiday online shopping? So far the numbers are impressive. Cyber Monday online sales were up 28 percent compared with a year ago, according to IBM Benchmark. Much of this is fueled by one company: Amazon. The retail powerhouse is, by far, the biggest online player. "Amazon's sales this year are going to be about $60 billion," says Barney Jopson, who covers the retail industry for the Financial Times. The second-largest online retailer is Walmart, which "reckons next year it's going to sell about $9 billion of stuff," he added. Other big retailers are playing catch up. Consumers love Amazon's low prices and reliable deliveries, but a potential downside during the holidays is a decline in customer service and advice from knowledgeable sales people. "Amazon is all about having the broadest possible selection and then the way they think about it is consumers can do their own research online," Jopson said.

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is moving aggressively this holiday season to offer same-day package delivery for Internet shoppers. Teaming up with major retailers, the post office will begin the service in San Francisco Dec. 12 at a price similar to its competitors. If things run smoothly, the program will quickly expand next year to other big cities. It follows similar efforts by eBay, Amazon and, most recently, Walmart, which charges a $10 flat rate for same-day delivery.

Greece will not be defaulting on its loans anytime soon. After weeks of difficult talks, Greece's European partners and the IMF agreed to release a bailout payment, and the proposal allows Greece to reduce its oppressive level of debts. The new loan makes it more likely that Greece will stay in the single currency eurozone. The interest rate Greece will be charged will be lowered and it is to be given more time to pay its loans. Under the terms of the agreement, the Greek government will receive loan payments of about $57 billion to be paid in four installments. But Greece must stick to its deficit targets to qualify for the bailout. Global stocks are mostly higher this morning after that debt deal was announced.

Made in the USA. Honda's chief executive says the company wants to boost vehicle exports from the United States as it shifts production away from Japan because of the strong yen. CEO Takanobu Ito tells The Wall Street Journal that Honda's U.S. plants export as much as 7 percent of production but that number could be closer to 20 percent. "The old structure of relying on Japan as chief export platform was unnatural," Ito told the Journal.

A lot of gamers want the new Wii. Nintendo says it sold more than 400,000 of its new video game console in the first week of release. The Wii U sells for $300 and was launched in the United States Nov. 18. Six years ago, Nintendo Co. sold 475,000 of the original Wii during its first seven days in stores. The original Wii is still being sold at a discount, and Nintendo says it sold more than 300,000 of them last week, along with roughly 250,000 handheld Nintendo 3DS units. One estimate suggests Nintendo will ship 1 million to 1.5 million Wii Us in the United States through the end of January.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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