The growth has been attributed to aggressive marketing, but the fact remains the same regardless of where you give credit: online sales in the United States jumped 15 percent this holiday season over last, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, a firm that measures retail sales. Online apparel was up 26 percent, electronics 12 percent, and department store 11 percent.

Daily online sales exceeded $1 billion on six days this season, which was twice as many days as a year ago, said Michael McNamara, a vice president at SpendingPulse. The growth meant online sales grabbed a larger share of the season's total sales, he said.

"It's a pretty positive story," McNamara said in an interview. "Retailers started earlier, in the second week of November, and were more aggressive with their tactics -- discounts and promotions. That seemed to drive growth."

Read the full story at Bloomberg Businessweek.

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