) -- I have been receiving calls and emails about the likely impact of this weekend's blizzard on holiday sales.

As with everything, it depends on where you are in the marketplace.

Mall traffic is curtailed, but online shopping should get a big boost. That means fewer, but higher value, transactions.

Homebound shoppers have fewer choices, because deeply discounted items on sales racks at the brick-and-mortar stores are often not available online, and supplies of online bargains will run out more quickly.

The deadline has passed for inexpensive shipping options. Shoppers forced to select express shipping will be a bonanza for online retailers, who often charge premiums for express services that don't impose as much in additional cost as they charge.

Moreover, late in the season, online sales will benefit express shippers like


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Overall, fewer items will be purchased but the transactions prices will be higher, both owing to a more limited scope of choices for shoppers and more online shipping and handling revenues.

Retail sales will be somewhat lower, but the big story will be the migration to online outlets. Higher transaction prices will compensate considerably for smaller volumes.

Shipping costs will be captured by express carriers in their revenues instead of retailers.

-- Written by Peter Morici


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Professor Peter Morici is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.