Online sales boomed on Black Friday

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It brought to a close the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping fest in which 164m Americans, 70pc of the population, are expected to have gone out in search of a pre-Christmas bargain. The Wednesday was particularly interesting, marking the day of the week when activity started to really accelerate as many switched on their campaigns - yet this was not reflected in the sales growth for that day, up just 2.8% and by far the lowest rate for any day that week; shoppers appeared to be far less responsive on that day.

Macy's says it has "fully resolved" problems on Black Friday related to its processing some gift and credit cards.

And, according to Adobe, these trends will continue for Cyber Monday, with many experts expecting November 27 to be the largest online shopping day ever.

Cyber Monday is all about online retailers and their attempts to lure shoppers to their sites by offering fantastic sales on some items in the hope that shoppers will end up spending more while they are there.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday were not the only days where retail outperformed expectations according to analysts at Cowen.

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Residents of the United States set a new achievement on the amount of online purchases in the "black Friday". Consumers are jumping at deals whenever and wherever they want, all thanks to their phones. That's a lot smaller than the projected digital growth, but it's certainly not a retail apocalypse.

However, despite the rise in online shopping, it seems that the slowdown in physical store sales hasn't been as severe as expected. In the run-up to the holiday weekend, established retailers invested gradually in upgrading their websites and bulking up delivery alternatives, preempting a decline in visits to brick-and-mortar stores.

My third and fourth picks to play the possibility of a mini-retail recovery through the holidays return to a more general theme.

It's Amazon's world - yet there's still a little room left for quality competition.

The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund (XRT) traded 0.3 percent higher, after rising as much as 1.5 percent. That would still mean that only around 15% of all sales are digital if you take into account that the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted $682 billion in total sales for the season. If the sector can turn things around during the busy holiday shopping season, it could develop into one of 2018's most unexpected comeback plays...