The Debenhams website has crashed after plans for a massive clearance sale led to “exceptional demand” this morning (December 12).
It comes after last ditch attempts to save the department store failed on Tuesday.
JD Sports, which was tipped to rescue the 242-year-old department store, withdrew from talks after Arcadia, which is worth £75 million a year to Debenhams, collapsed.
In the wake of the news, the department store has launched a massive clearance sale, with many items slashed by up to 70%.
Shoppers were greeted with massive digital queues as they tried to access the website beginning on Tuesday evening.
By 10am on Wednesday, wait times to view the website were still close to 15 minutes long.
The website’s landing page read: “You are in a virtual queue.
“Sorry for the wait, we are currently using a virtual queue due to exceptional demand. We will get you onto the site as soon as possible.”
Others were told the site was currently unavailable altogether.
“We’re experiencing large volumes of traffic, but don’t worry we’ll be back soon,” it said.
Frustrated shoppers hit out at the brand on social media.
One person wrote: “Waited in a 20 min queue to get on the Debenhams website to be diverted to the back of the queue after only 2 mins of browsing!”
Another added: …”Having waited (patiently) in the virtual queue, shopping with a basketful, I’ve just been kicked out of the website and told to get a new queue place with another 20 minutes wait time. Sorry not worth it.”
Crowds gathered at stores around the country on Wednesday, with massive queues reported at the Oxford Street location in London.
Videos showed shoppers rushing through the doors as it opened, with no social distancing appearing to take place.
It marks the first day shops have reopened in England, after a month-long lockdown to stem the spread of the virus.
The department store said it continues to accept orders and process refunds and returns as normal.
“We continue to accept credit cards, store cards, gift cards and Beauty Club rewards as forms of payment,” they added.
The brand’s collapse means all 124 shops are likely to close. It has nine locations in Wales, including in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Llanelli, Carmarthen, Merthyr Tydfil, Llandudno, Bangor and Wrexham.
Around 12,000 jobs are at risk across the UK.
WalesOnline has contacted Debenhams for comment.