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All Eyes on Retail Sales and Cyber Monday in the Week Ahead

Industry watchers believe Cyber Monday sales will reach a record $9.4 billion, but that could fall short of the day’s potential.

That’s because even though the $9.4 billion sales that Adobe Analytics projects represents nearly a 20 percent increase from last year, the start of buying online for holiday has crept earlier into November and October, far ahead of Thanksgiving Day and the Black Friday sale events that traditionally kick off the shopping season. With an earlier start to shopping online, sales that normally would have taken place on Cyber Monday were likely pulled forward earlier in November.

Holiday promotions this year began the Friday before Halloween.

Still, the 20 percent increase is nothing to sneeze at, particularly with the late Thanksgiving shaving six days off the holiday season this year. And if Adobe is right, that’s still above the estimated $7.4 billion expected from Black Friday sales once the dust settles.

Oliver Chen, retail analyst at Cowen & Co., said store checks on Black Friday indicated that Walmart, Nordstrom and Target were best positioned, although he was cautious about Gap, Macy’s and Kohl’s, due to their large exposure to women’s apparel where the category has challenged inventory and difficulty in “captivating” younger shoppers.

“We expect Cyber Monday to be the second most popular day of the five-day shopping period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, mostly driven by mobile traffic,” said Chen, who projects revenue growth of 20 percent for Cyber Monday and estimates that mobile will drive e50 percent of total digital traffic.

Amazon has already disclosed its list of Cyber Monday deals, with specials focused on tech like its Fire 7 Tablet and the Ring Video Doorbell.

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Target said Friday that online Cyber Week doorbusters will be available one day early, starting on Sunday.

“Throughout Cyber Week, Target will offer deep discounts on must-have products and guest-favorite brands, with new offers available every day through Green Monday on Dec. 9,” the company said in a statement.

Rick Gomez, the discounter’s executive vice president and chief marketing and digital officer, said the retailer is kicking off the week early to “give guests an opportunity to continue shopping and saving on doorbusters from the comfort of their own homes.” Sunday’s deals include 30 percent off apparel, outerwear and shoes for the family. Additional offers are slated for Cyber Monday, while deals from Tuesday through the following Monday will include apparel and accessories doorbusters on Thursday, and a 30 percent discount on men’s and women’s C9 performance wear on Friday.

Walmart U.S. e-commerce executive vice president and chief merchant Ashley Buchanan wrote in a blog post,that the “savings will continue with more deals than ever on Cyber Monday,” which kicks off on Walmart.com at 12:01 a.m. ET. Deals include a Blue Start Clothing women’s plush robe for $9.99, a savings of $20) and a Fruit of the Loom men’s crew neck top and fleece pajama pant set for $9.99, a savings of $8.

“But, it’s not just about great products,” Buchanan added, it’s also about how we’re making it easy for busy families to get their online orders when and how they want,” noting that customers shopping Cyber Monday deals can choose free two-day shipping or pick up their orders at a local store.