Wall Street Watch: Cyber Monday is the New Normal

Packages from Amazon.comCyber Monday began several years ago without a whole lot of fanfare.

Online merchants were bombarded with traffic on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and they graciously accepted the attention. It was eventually theorized that the spike in buying activity was the handiwork of frustrated Black Friday shoppers. Missing out on "doorbuster" bargains during the wee hours on Friday morning, folks returned to work on Monday bent on making up for the lost opportunity by spending free time at work strolling through the virtual aisles of e-tailers.

Everyone's ready for Cyber Monday now.

Online retailers are expected to have a feast this holiday shopping season. Analysts see sales at Amazon.com (AMZN) soaring 28% this quarter, and you can bet that a good deal of that activity will be taking place on Cyber Monday.

Even retailers that are struggling in the real world are hoping that their websites hold up better. You can probably scratch J.C. Penney (JCP) off that list. It checked in with a mindboggling 37% drop in sales at JCP.com in its latest quarter. However, the showrooming-ravaged Best Buy (BBY) posted a 10% increase in sales through its Web store, helping to offset some of the sting of another quarter of declining same-store sales.

Cyber Monday may no longer be a single-day phenomenon, but it still matters to the companies that are relying on the Internet to reach shoppers everywhere.

Other things worth watching
Merchants won't just be busy ringing up sales this week. Several retailers will also be reporting their latest fiscal quarter results. It's going to be a mixed showing. American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), Zumiez (ZUMZ), and Ann Taylor (ANN) are some of the mall chains expected to post year-over-year improvement ahead of the telltale holiday quarter. Aeropostale (ARO), Guess? (GES), and upscale jeweler Tiffany (TIF) are some of the store operators projected to post lower earnings than they did a year earlier. The naughty and nice lists among retailers will be long on both ends.

TiVo (TIVO) is one of the few non-retailers to post quarterly results this week. The digital video recorder (DVR) pioneer has been able to grow by using its patents to get cable and satellite providers to pay up for offering TiVo-like services. Lately that hasn't been enough to turn the company profitable. Analysts expect TiVo to post another quarterly loss.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy, Aeropostale, Guess, Tiffany, and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Guess, Amazon.com, and Zumiez, and writing covered calls on Guess.

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