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Abt Predicts 40-50% Surge in Online Holiday Spending

GLENVIEW, IL (November, 2005) - Abt Electronics, the largest single-store appliance and electronics dealer in the U.S., is expecting a 40% to 50% increase in online spending at its 8,000-product website for the 2005 holiday season compared to a 30% jump last year. Company officials believe the strong sales gains will be fueled by high gas prices as well as organic growth in Internet shopping, the season's must-have electronic products, and special features of the Abt website.

Abt's forecast of a strong online season dovetails with a report by online research aggregator eMarketer predicting a 21.9% increase in online retail sales in the fourth quarter. That report tied the expected growth to factors including a continuing shift in consumers' holiday spending from traditional stores to online retailers, improved order fulfillment enabling shoppers to make online purchases closer to Christmas, and aggressive promotional pricing triggered by intense competition among consumer electronics websites.

"We do 12% to 15% of our business online with 90% of those sales coming from shoppers outside the Chicago metropolitan area where our store is located, so we have already built a strong Web presence," said Jon Abt, President of Abt Electronics. "This year we expect the high price of gas to generate more online sales from Chicagoland consumers, along with blockbuster growth in non-Chicago sales due in part to the high demand for items like MP3 players, plasma and flat panel TVs."

The Abt Electronics website has an additional edge because of a variety of pricing and support features not available from most online stores. For shoppers outside Illinois, for example, there is no sales tax because Abt has no brick-and-mortar stores in those states. The site also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee; free shipping on all orders of 50 pounds or less as well as select other products; toll-free customer service and live chat 10 hours a day; and a selection aid called a "Guidester" that helps shoppers choose the right product in a given category based on their needs.

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