Best Buy’s Site Crashes On Black Friday

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Photo courtesy: CBS News.

CBS News – Best Buy (BBY)’s website temporarily went dark on Black Friday, an embarrassing misstep for the electronics retailer on what is typically the biggest shopping day of the year.

Visitors to BestBuy.com this morning were greeted with a with a message that said, “We’re sorry. Best Buy.com is currently unavailable. Come Back Soon.”

Best Buy said in a statement that it shut down the site after a “concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues” that required the company to temporarily take it offline. BestBuy.com was down for roughly an hour before service was restored.

Best Buy’s Twitter feed is chock full of complaints from irate customers who were hoping to take advantage of the deals offered by the retailer on the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. The timing, of course, couldn’t have been worse.

“While we don’t have the specifics on Best Buy’s outage, we do know that being down on Black Friday or Cyber Monday can mean significant damage to a retailer’s revenue,” said a representative from Custora, which provides shopper analytics data to retailers. “According to our data, Black Friday is the second largest day of the year for online shopping, with 3 percent of all holiday shopping done that day. Second only to Cyber Monday, Black Friday sees huge amounts of traffic — offline and online — and every year some retailers cannot handle the volume.”

Despite today’s glitch, business at Best Buy has been fairly brisk of late. The company reported better-than-expected third quarter results, and CEO Hubert Joly has expressed optimism about its sales prospects for the critical holiday shopping period.

Still, Best Buy shares are little changed since the start of the year, indicating that many investors remain skeptical about the company’s future. The stock rose 65 cents to $39.40 in early trading.

The problems at Best Buy appear to be isolated. Other major e-commerce sites, including those operated by Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), Toys “R” US and Amazon.com (AMZN) were working fine.

But Best Buy wasn’t alone in having issues with its site. Several U.K. retailers, including Tesco, Argos and Boots, also experienced technical difficulties with their websites, according to published reports.

Retailers have to walk a fine line during the holiday season by offering deals enticing enough to attract customers. But Black Friday sales have slipped in recent years as retailers have started discounting their wares earlier in November and because of the grothw in online shopping. Data from ShopperTrak, which monitors 70,000 stores, showed that Black Friday sales slumped 13.2 percent last year.

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