Holiday scorecard for e-tailer deliveries

With many consumers keen on sticking close to home, buying gifts online was a popular option this holiday season.

But how well did e-tailers do at fulfilling guarantees and getting orders to customers in time for Christmas? Not bad, reports Keynote Systems, an Internet-services company that tracks online retailers' performance.

Keynote tracked six last-minute orders at 40 retail sites, all placed within the last hour or so of their Christmas-delivery-guarantee timeframe. Of the 21 sites for which data is now available (it is still being processed), 16 met their guarantee for all six items. Among the on-time deliverers: Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Cooking.com, Wal-Mart, Sears, Macy's, Gap, Home Depot, J. Jill, KBtoys, and eToys.

A few merchants struggled, however. Best Buy and Smarter Kids each missed one of the orders, Tower Records missed two, and Buy.com missed three. CDNow delivered all six items late.

Overall, most e-tailers exceeded their delivery expectations during the holiday season, Keynote found, despite the fact that some struggled with such last-minute orders. Compared with last year, when the average delivery took less than five days, this year was a bit slower: taking six days from the click of the "buy" button to the doorbell.

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