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Online Retail Traffic Down. Again.

Just in case you needed more evidence that the economy is headed south: Hitwise is reporting that visits to online retail Web sites in the U.S. have declined for the eighth consecutive week.

Visits to retail Web sites were down 3% for the week ending Oct. 25 compared to that same week a year ago. Retail sites had actually experienced a bump in traffic from June through August of this year, but then started sagging in September, when they dropped by 4%. We all know the story from there.

"These declines have strong implications for the upcoming online holiday season as well as offline sales," said Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise. "Everyone is aware of the role that the Internet plays to influence offline sales through research, so this slowdown may indicate a further ripple effect in sales in retail locations."

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