Online Shopping Popular, But Not Close to Replacing Brick and Mortar

With the rise of ever-popular online shopping, will malls become a thing of the past?  The Atlantic Wire’s Rebecca Greenfield thinks not. Greenfield found many reasons to favor shopping in person, just as the $11.4 billion worth of Black Friday shoppers did. While 2011’s Cyber Monday was record-breaking, Black Friday totals still doubled those of its Internet counterpart.

Greenfield believes that Cyber Monday numbers were also inflated this year by the lure of free shipping.  78% of those surveyed by comScore said that free shipping was very important or somewhat important when making purchases online, but most retailers don’t offer the perk year-round. Then there’s shopping via tablet, which the author argues truly is not ideal unless you are shopping for digital content. Greenfield says that of the top 30 retailers, not one has an iPad (NASDAQ:AAPL) optimized site and only half have apps.

Then, of course, there’s the true physicality of shopping in person. Shopping in person offers the tactile experience of being able to feel a fabric and try on clothing. Many online shoppers have been burned by Internet purchases that weren’t accurately portrayed online. A recent survey by the New York Times’ Julie Bosman found that 24% of those surveyed who had purchased books online had gone to a store to view the product in person first.

And finally, Greenfield cites sales tax as a big reason for shopping online, but like free shipping, that perk may also be coming to an end. Online retail giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) once opposed an online sales tax, but now has done an about face and “strongly supports” the legislation.

Here’s how top retailer stocks are performing:

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): AAPL shares recently traded at $388.26, down $2.69, or 0.69%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $310.50 to $426.70. Volume today was 4,161,323 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 19,083,800 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 14.03, while trailing earnings are $27.68 per share.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN): AMZN shares recently traded at $194.23, up $2.24, or 1.17%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $160.59 to $246.71. Volume today was 2,497,511 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 7,026,430 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 102.39, while trailing earnings are $1.90 per share.

J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP): JCP shares recently traded at $33.38, up $0.08, or 0.24%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $23.44 to $41.00. Volume today was 786,005 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 5,221,170 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 36.44, while trailing earnings are $0.92 per share.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (NYSE:MSO): MSO shares recently traded at $4.11, up $0.99, or 31.73%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.77 to $5.49. Volume today was 3,124,481 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 190,358 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-0.28 per share.

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M): M shares recently traded at $32.96, up $0.01, or 0.03%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $21.69 to $33.26. Volume today was 1,833,768 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 8,842,010 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.08, while trailing earnings are $2.73 per share.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT): WMT shares recently traded at $59.06, up $0.64, or 1.1%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $48.31 to $59.40. Volume today was 4,447,767 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 12,004,500 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.50, while trailing earnings are $4.72 per share.

Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT): TGT shares recently traded at $53.87, up $0.21, or 0.39%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $45.28 to $60.97. Volume today was 1,727,228 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,692,400 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.54, while trailing earnings are $4.30 per share.