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Fresh-cut Xmas trees — via the Net

'We've never had an artificial tree' said SharrThorntSchererville as she got help from her sRaymond Thorntalso Schererville choose cut down

"We've never had an artificial tree," said Sharron Thornton of Schererville as she got help from her son Raymond Thornton, also of Schererville, to choose and cut down a tree at Luer's Christmas Tree Farm in Schererville, Ind. Thursday December 1, 2011. The Thornton family has been has been cutting their own tree for at least 35 years. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 4, 2012 8:05AM

The family trek to the Christmas tree farm has a competitor getting special buzz this season: the Internet.

Some retailers’ websites, including Target, Costco and, as of this week, Sears and Kmart, are hawking freshly cut trees delivered door to door anywhere in the continental United States.

Online sales of cut trees are still a fraction of the 27 million-plus Christmas trees expected to be purchased this year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. About 33 percent of people still trek to the choose-and-cut farms, the group says.

But online tree sales — which at Sears costs as much as $189.99 for a 9-foot Fraser fir tree from North Carolina — are becoming a lucrative business. Some retailer sites cajole shoppers to purchase a tree even as folks sign on to just buy ornaments.

“We’re trying to give every consumer the opportunity to shop how, when and where they want,” says Jennifer Dominiquini, marketing chief for seasonal and outdoor living at Sears.

Target began selling cut trees online last year. Costco is in its third season. Neither would divulge sales data.

Gannett News Service

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