Amazon Reports 'Best Ever' Holiday Sales

Online retailing giant reported on Friday that it has experienced its "best ever" holiday sales period, bucking industry trends and providing a bright spot in an otherwise disastrous economy. That said, Amazon didn't provide many specifics: It did note, however, that on its best day, December 15, customers ordered more than 72.9 million items per second.

"We are very grateful to our customers," said CEO Jeff Bezos in a message very reminiscent of the one he provided a year earlier after a similar announcement. "On behalf of employees around the globe, we wish everyone the very best for the coming year."

As is its custom, Amazon provided some interesting factoids about its holiday sales. The company said that its fulfillment center shipped over 5.6 million items on its busiest day of the period, that 99 percent of orders shipped in time for holiday deadlines, and that it delivered packages to 210 different countries around the world.

Amazon's results are hardly typical. In fact, the 2008 holiday season is widely considered the worst in decades, according to industry analysts, with item sales in all retail categories falling year-over-year. Retail sales, overall, fell between 6 and 8 percent in December. And online retail sales, which have typically risen 20 percent for several years, fell 2 percent. Best Buy, for example, experienced a 17 percent drop in online sales this season.

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