Holiday Shopping

At the break of the holiday season, online retailers have already reported record numbers of shoppers and diminishing supplies of the season's hottest gifts.

Retailers are battling to keep their products in stock and provide customer service to millions of first-time Web shoppers this season. With the increased number of people visiting and shopping from the Internet this year, there is a higher potential for technology failures and shipping mix-ups than there was last year. The biggest problems may be in order delivery, not in accessing the sites.

Sites like Toys "R" Us, already have warnings on their home pages that state that many of their advertised items may not be available (all Pokemon stuff of course). Several retailers have already run out of their top-selling items for this season.

Still, traffic has been up at almost every online retailer. Yahoo said transaction volume in its shopping and auction area was up more that 400 percent, the Friday after Thanksgiving, from the same day last year. America Online reports that spending over the Thanksgiving weekend nearly tripled from last year.

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