Macy’s Web Site Buckles Under Heavy Traffic on Black Friday

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Every year, some poor retailer’s web site buckles under the weight of heavy Black Friday or Cyber Monday traffic, depriving it of sales on a major shopping weekend.

Last year, it was Neiman Marcus and Target, and the year before, Best Buy.

This year, it’s Macy’s (M), potentially depriving it of key sales on what Adobe says could be a $3 billion e-commerce day for all U.S. retailers combined.

Shoppers trying to visit in the late morning and early afternoon on Black Friday, the second biggest shopping day of the year (after the Saturday before Christmas), were greeted with a “temporary shopping jam” message due to overflow shopping traffic. As of 2:25 p.m. E.T. on Friday, the site was still experiencing the problem.


A message ask shoppers to wait about 10 seconds, refresh their browsers, and then enter the site. That worked when Fortune tried it. But some customers took to Twitter (TWTR) to complain that once the page was reloaded, they couldn’t adding items to their carts.

Last year, Target’s web site created virtual waiting lines to deal with heavy online traffic on Cyber Monday.

The snafus couldn’t be more poorly timed for Macy’s, the fourth largest U.S. online retailer with sales last year of $5 billion, according to eMarketer. The retailer is trying to get back to sales growth after several quarters of declines and has invested heavily in its e-commerce.

Earlier on Friday, Adobe Digital Insights forecast digital revenues would rise 11.3% on Black Friday. As Fortune reported, Target and Kohl’s, both direct rivals to Macy’s, each reported record online sales on Thanksgiving.

Though a Macy’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment, she told CNBC, “We are currently experiencing high volume on our site, which has slowed traffic.” The spokeswoman added: “We are still taking a high volume of online orders, and we are working quickly to alleviate the delay issue which we hope to have resolved shortly.”

Macy’s Black Friday deals are available through midnight on Saturday.

This week, Target announced it was spreading out its Cyber Monday sales over two days and offering them in stores, in a move seen as designed in part to ease pressure on

Catchpoint Systems, a service that monitors e-commerce sites performance and alerted Fortune to Macy’s problems, noted that Williams-Sonoma’s site was also experiencing problems.

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