Target Latest Site to Buckle Under Cyber Monday Traffic

November 30, 2015, 6:28 PM UTC
Inside A Target Corp. Store Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Shopping carts are seen at a Target Corp. retail location in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Thursday, May 14, 2015. Target Corp. is set to release earnings reports this week. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg
Photograph by David Ryder — Bloomberg via Getty Images

You can add Target (TGT) to the list of retailers whose sites had trouble coping with heavy traffic at some point over Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday.

Visitors to the discount retailer’s site on Monday morning, when Target was offering 15% off everything online, were greeted with a nearly blank screen containing only the error message: “So sorry, but high traffic’s causing delays. If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically & get things going ASAP.”

The outage comes only seven months after Target’s site struggled to keep up with heavy demand after the launch of its Lilly Pulitzer collection in April, an episode that prevented many customers from shopping on its site.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.37.28 AM

But Target can at least count its lucky stars: Its outage was short-lived, about 40 minutes. In contrast, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus’s site was down for most of Black Friday, the biggest shopping day overall of the year, and suffered additional intermittent outages into early Sunday morning, according to website performance tracker Catchpoint Systems. That basically deprived the luxury retailer of some 30 hours of online business during the key Black Friday weekend, terrible for a retailer that gets 25% of sales online.

According Watchpoint, other retailers hit by outages included L Brands’ (LB) Victoria’s Secret, including a big one overnight Saturday into Sunday, and Foot Locker.

MORE: Cyber Monday Sales Start Off Strong, Set to Hit $3 Billion

Even pure-play tech companies weren’t spared. According to PayPal’s event notification page, the site experienced a “major impact” to operations both on Sunday and Monday morning. “Earlier today, PayPal experienced a brief, intermittent interruption in our service. We have resolved the issue and customers can pay with PayPal on Cyber Monday,” the company said in a statement.

The problems come as e-commerce hits a major milestone in retail history: Over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend, slightly more shoppers went online (103 million) than to stores (102 million) for the first time. And according to Adobe, online sales rose about 19% over that period.

As for Target, it has not yet responded to Fortune’s request for comment, but a spokesperson told TechCrunch: “Both traffic and order volumes are exceeding Target’s Thursday Black Friday event, which was our biggest day ever for online sales. To help manage the volume, we have been metering traffic to the site. We have teams working diligently to restore to full functionality.”

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