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    Online Retail Sales Down in First Quarter

    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department today said sales at U.S. online retailers fell 11.9 percent in the first three months of the year, Reuters reports. But sales were up 19.3 percent from a year earlier.

    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department today said sales at U.S. online retailers fell 11.9 percent in the first three months of the year, Reuters reports. But sales were up 19.3 percent from a year earlier.

    Retail e-commerce sales in the first quarter were $9.849 billion, down from $11.178 billion in the fourth quarter.

    Sales over the Web in the first quarter accounted for 1.3 percent of the $743.781 billion in total retail sales, the same proportion as in the fourth quarter of last year. That proportion has been steadily marching up since the government began tracking the data in the fourth quarter of 1999, when e-commerce accounted for just 0.7 percent of total retail sales, according to Reuters.

    The government tally is based on a survey of 11,000 retailers and does not include some popular online purchases, such as airline and concert tickets, spending at online brokerages, or pornography.

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