July 16, 2015 / 6:44 PM / 2 years ago

Amazon says Prime Day orders beat last year's Black Friday

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc said customers ordered 34.4 million items worldwide during its highly publicized Prime Day sale, breaking the record set by last year’s Black Friday sale.

Two freshly delivered Amazon boxes are seen on a counter in Golden, Colorado August 27, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Amazon’s shares touched a record high of $473.21 on Thursday, a day after the online retailer held the one-day event.

The company also said a record number of new members tried its $99-per-year Prime service on the day of the sale, with “The Lord of the Rings” movie box sets proving the most sought-after product.

Limited-period deals were offered on a host of items ranging from microfiber towels to televisions and robotic vacuum cleaners.

Sellers who use Amazon’s fulfillment services reported a 300 percent rise in unit sales, with one vendor saying he made $16,000 per hour.

Green smoothie mixes were among the highest-selling items in Japan, while Canadians used the day to stock up on Huggies diapers, and the Monopoly board game was France’s favorite product, Amazon said.

On the downside, the company came in for criticism on social media, with some customers disappointed by the speed at which offers ended and the lack of blockbuster discounts.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, also launched a three-month sale on Wednesday to counter Amazon, which has emerged as a serious competitor in the past few years.

The first day of WalMart’s sale saw a triple-digit jump orders for same-day pickup compared with a year earlier, with high demand for Apple Inc’s iPad Air and FitBit Inc’s Charge HR, the company said in an email on Wednesday.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings

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