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Cyber Monday article updated with latest online sales results and analyst .



) -- Black Friday weekend kicked off a strong start to the holiday season, especially for online retailers. But just how important is Cyber Monday?

Retail stocks are in the red Monday afternoon, as investors fear consumers are all spent out. The S&P Retail Index is dipping 0.4% to 493.23.

But currently, all indications are suggesting that Cyber Monday is continuing on an upward trajectory. As of 2 p.m. ET, Cyber Monday sales were 12.5% higher than Cyber Monday 2009, according to Coremetrics.

And amid depressed stocks there are some winners.


(WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report

is gaining 6.6% to $1.13. A channel check of the book seller revealed slow load times on the site, and the difficulty of actually placing an order as of 3:30 p.m. ET, suggesting a surge in online traffic. Rival

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Barnes & Noble, Inc. Report

is also experiencing some server errors.

(OSTK) - Get Inc. Report

is surging 8.6% to $15.45,

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TheStreet Recommends


(AMZN) - Get Inc. Report

hit a 52-week high this morning and is currently advancing 1.7% to $180.07 and


(NFLX) - Get Netflix Inc. Report

is rising 3.8% to $199.21.

Online shopping grew substantially over the Black Friday weekend. Overall, the percentage of shoppers who made purchases online this past weekend increased to 33.6% from 28.5% last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Nonetheless, the market is questioning if retailers can keep up this momentum.

"At this point, Cyber Monday could be relegated to the scrap heap in terms of importance for retailers," Wall Street Strategies analyst, Brian Sozzi, wrote in a note. "A marketing tactic in its present form, Cyber Monday is poised to step back in line to the weeks preceding Black Friday, Thanksgiving and even Black Friday itself."

Online promotions began in the first week of November for many retailers this year, lessening the sense of urgency on Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving online promotions also gave shoppers a reason to spend online pre-Cyber Monday. According to the NRF, shoppers who made purchases on Thanksgiving -- both online and in stores -- doubled over the past five years from 10.3 million in 2005 to 22.3 million this year.

Sunday shopping was also strong, with online sales up 14% from last year, according to Coremetrics.

Infographic: Cyber Monday by the Numbers >>

Sozzi says in browsing retail Web sites this morning, he is seeing a lack of aggressive promotions. Of course, discount giants like


(WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report

are taking full advantage of the shopping "holiday," but specialty retailers are offering less significant deals.

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Abercrombie & Fitch Company Report

, for examples, is offering 25% at namesake stores with a purchase of $150 and when consumers spend $125 at its Hollister chain. "Again, not a strong upfront discount, and is slightly less promotional than Black Friday," Sozzi wrote.


American Eagle Outfitters

(AEO) - Get American Eagle Outfitters Inc. Report

is advertising 20% off entire purchase, while


(GPS) - Get Gap Inc. (The) Report

is offering 10% discount at namesake stores and Banana Republic.

But the real boost in online shopping traffic won't come until about 12 p.m. ET, says John Spire.

While the market is questioning if consumers will still have the budgets and desire to shop after the Black Friday weekend, John Spire, chief strategy officer at Coremetrics says that question has arisen every day this past weekend. "After the Thanksgiving sales spike people asked will Black Friday be as strong, and it was. All indications point to another big growth story for Cyber Monday this year."

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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