Visits to UK retail sites has beaten busiest period in 2004

LONDON - More shoppers have visited UK retail websites already in 2005 than at the peak of last year's Christmas shopping season.

According to Hitwise, the online research firm, visits to retail websites ended last week 5% higher than the week ending December 4 2004 -- the busiest week for visits to retail sites in 2004.

Popular product searches to date include Robbie Williams, especially concert tickets, Madonna, and iPod.

Among children's toys, Barbie and Bratz were battling it out for search dominance, with Bratz overtaking their blonde rival for the week ending November 19.

The research indicates it could be a very techie Christmas for some, with a high volume of searches for Sony PlayStation's PSP and Microsoft's new games console Xbox 360. Bad news for Nintendo though, with searches for its Nintendo DS lagging behind its gaming rivals.

According to Hitwise, the top five retail websites by UK visits for the week ending November 19 were: eBay; Amazon UK; Argos; Kelkoo UK; and

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