Wal-Mart’s website was the most visited among all online retail sites on Thanksgiving Day, according to research released Monday.

The retail giant’s website - which was temporarily shut down on Friday due to heavy traffic - commanded a market share of 18.3 percent, nearly 10 percent more than the next closest competitor. Best Buy had 8.8 percent of the market, while Amazon came in third with 8.36 percent, according online research firm Hitwise.

Bricks and mortar retailers gained the most market share among the top 15 visited sites.

“The dominance of big box retailers as top sites visited for November 23rd indicates that the Thanksgiving Day phenomenon is attributable to consumers researching sale offerings in advance of Black Friday,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise.

For the fourth year in a row, the Hitswise Retail 100 index, comprising of the 100 leading retail websites, was up 11.8 percent for Thursday compared to last year.

Hitwise U.S. Retail 100 Index Top 15 Websites

Rank by market share of visits for daily data. November 23, 2006

1. Wal-Mart, 18.26%

2. BestBuy, 8.75%

3. Amazon, 8.75%

4. Circuit City, 6.98%

5. Target, 6.06%

6. Sears, 2.78%

7. Toys ‘R’ Us, 2.66%

8. Overstock.com 2.12%

9. Kmart, 1.80%

10. JC Penney, 1.78%

11. Kohls, 1.77%

12. BizRate, 1.42%

13. Hallmark.com, 1.41%

14. The Home Depot, 1.25%

15. Macy’s, 1.13%

Source: Hitwise