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Cyber Monday Is Looking Good To Local Retailers


A La Tienda packer stuffed a cardboard box with chorizo, cheese, chocolate and cookies.

The products, imported from Spain, were packed in a Toano warehouse and destined for Key Largo, Fla. -- another Cyber Monday order fulfilled.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday has emerged as a popular day to continue online the holiday shopping that started during the Black Friday weekend. Internet retailers mark the day with sales and promotions, and local retailers with an Internet presence are no different.

La Tienda, a Toano-based company that sells products imported from Spain, has been offering specials all weekend. On Cyber Monday, it unveiled a free shipping promotion, good on orders of $99 or more through Sunday.

Cyber Monday is generally the second-biggest day for the company's sales. The biggest is two Mondays before Christmas, said Tim Harris, co-CEO.

"Lunch, it peaks," Harris said of La Tienda's Internet sales. "I hate to admit it, but it's during the work day that the majority of ordering happens. We see a slight jump after dinner, before prime time."

La Tienda started in 1996 as an Internet-only operation. The catalog came along about six years ago, followed by a retail location that opened last week at 1325 Jamestown Road in James City County.

The Thanksgiving-through- Christmas season is about 30 percent of the company's business, and the company's staff more than doubles from 20 to 50, Harris said.

Christmastime makes up 85 percent to 90 percent of sales for Smithfield Specialty Foods, a division of Smithfield Foods, said Alexa Ricketts, director of catalog marketing. The division includes the Genuine Smithfield Ham Shoppe retail stores in Smithfield and Williamsburg and several Web sites, including smithfieldmarketplace .com, smithfieldhams.com, smith fieldcollection.com, basseschoice .com and thepeanutshop.com.

This year's Cyber Monday sales could outpace last year's, Ricketts said.

"Things are going pretty good," she said. "We're very pleased with what we're seeing."

Last year, Cyber Monday Internet sales doubled in volume for the Virginia Diner despite a Web site that was hard to navigate.

The popular restaurant on Route 460 in Wakefield also operates an Internet and mail-order business selling peanuts and ham.

Christmas is 80 percent of its Internet and catalog business, said Chris Epperson, president.

This year, the company launched a new Web site a month ago to be ready for the cyber-shopping rush. It offered a $10-off-$50 promotion on Monday.

This is the first time Taste Unlimited, headquartered in Virginia Beach, offered a Cyber Monday promotion, said Amy Jordan, director of marketing and public relations.

Most of its business is through its six retail stores, including one in City Center at Oyster Point.

"Christmas is huge for us," she said. "A lot of people think of us for lunch, but we're also very much in the gift business."

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest Internet sales days for the Williamsburg Marketplace, which sells Colonial Williamsburg-inspired items to benefit the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, said Tom Shrout, a Colonial Williamsburg spokesman. The site, williamsburgmarketplace .com, offered 25 percent off Monday.

Whitley's Peanut Factory (whitleys peanut.com) wasn't offering any Cyber Monday promotions but saw an increase in sales Monday, said Dee Kattan of Whitley's. The company, which has a factory in Hayes and retail stores in Gloucester and Williamsburg, plans to launch a sale today.

Women's fashion catalogs Newport News and Spiegel offered 25 percent off Monday and saw a 50 percent increase over a normal day's sales by mid-afternoon, said Geralynn Madonna, president and CEO. The company operates a distribution center in Newport News.

For Rock Bottom Golf, which has a warehouse in Suffolk, Cyber Monday is one of the biggest sales days of the year, if not the biggest, said Brian Schwank, director of marketing for the Rochester, N.Y.-based company.

It offered a 15-percent-off promotion that ran Nov. 24 until Cyber Monday.

"We should definitely end up better than last year, from the stats that I'm seeing so far today," he said. "It'll definitely be one of the biggest days of the year."

What is Cyber Monday?

The Monday after Thanksgiving has become the day that Internet retailers offer their own sales and promotions to offer consumers a chance to continue their holiday shopping after the Black Friday weekend sales.