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By cnbc.com
Friday, 15 Dec 2006 | 12:21 PM ET

Free shipping upgrades and other offers are extending the online shopping season, according to Internet research company comScore Networks. The company's latest shopping report says online stores have pushed back deadlines for standard shipping in time for Christmas, and are offering free upgrades, allowing people to wait longer and still have goods arrive in time for Christmas.

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Overall, online spending reached $17.6 billion in the period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 12, up 24% from a year ago, according to comScore, which is forecasting total sales of $24.3 billion for the November-December period. Sales on Monday, Dec. 11 -- thought to be the busiest day of the season -- fell short of the firm's forecast.

In case you're wondering, orders placed by Dec. 18 or 19, using standard shipping, are expected to make it to their destination by Dec. 25.

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