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Online merchants happy, so far

Sites say they're seeing bigger-than-expected spike in traffic, deals in first days of holiday shopping season.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Two online retail companies gave positive reports on the first days of the Thanksgiving weekend, saying sales were up significantly in the traditional holiday kickoff period from a year earlier.

eBay Inc. (Charts, Fortune 500) said its Shopping.com site saw a 61 percent increase in Black Friday traffic from the 2006 period.

Meanwhile, PriceGrabber.com, a comparison-shopping site run by Britain's Experian Group Ltd., said referrals from its site to participating merchants were up 47 percent on Black Friday from a year ago.

According to both merchants, projections for online sales increases this season are in the 20 percent range, to about $33 billion.

"Early signs from a very busy Black Friday show that many shoppers are grabbing their mouse instead of their car keys this holiday season," Jim Griffith, eBay Inc. dean of education, said in a statement.

Both eBay and PriceGrabber said the Nintendo Wii game console was among the most popular items sold online. eBay said its namesake site sold 358 Wiis on Black Friday at an average price of $411.76, more than $161 above its suggested retail price.

eBay said Webkinz pet toys were the hottest toys on the Shopping.com site this year.

Both sides are expecting a bump up in traffic on Monday, a day often referred to as Cyber Monday because it's usually the first big day of holiday online shopping of the season. But the sites say they expect the second Monday in December - Dec. 10 this year - to be the busiest day for shopping online. To top of page

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