J. Crew website suffers extended holiday outage

Dive Brief:

  • Embattled apparel retailer J. Crew’s website went down for several hours on Monday, Reuters reports.
  • "We're experiencing issues with, but we'll be back up and running shortly. Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you," J. Crew posted on Twitter and Facebook on Monday morning.
  • “Our site is back up and running now,” J. Crew tweeted and posted to Facebook the next morning, nearly 24 hours later. “Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience — especially during the holidays.”

Dive Insight:

Retailer website outages are becoming an unfortunate holiday tradition on par with fruitcake, ugly sweater parties and that horrible Paul McCartney “Wonderful Christmastime” song. An influx of online traffic knocked luxury department store Neiman Marcus offline for much of Black Friday 2015, and days later, Target blacked out for stretches of Cyber Monday. This year, Macy’s website fell victim to an extended Black Friday disruption, directing shoppers to a page blaming “heavier traffic than normal,” complete with a countdown clock indicating when consumers could again access the main site. Victoria’s Secret, Express and Pier 1 Imports experienced Black Friday hiccups as well.

Now it’s J. Crew’s turn to weather the bad press and lost post-holiday sales. As of press time, the retailer has not commented on the cause of the web outage beyond Twitter and Facebook posts. But if history is any guide, it’s likely J. Crew’s website was simply unprepared for the barrage of post-holiday traffic.

“[During the holidays] retailers are bombarded with more traffic than they can handle — some product takes off, and all of a sudden you have more traffic than you’ve ever seen before,” Brett Sanderson, product marketing manager for shopper advertising at consumer information network Bazaarvoice, recently told Retail Dive. “You need to test to make sure your site doesn’t go down. Be prepared for anything that can happen. You can’t afford to miss out. If you can’t capitalize on this peak period, it can break your year."

J. Crew in particular can ill afford a website disruption. Many of the company’s most ardent, long-term loyalists have expressed frustration with declines in the make and fit of J. Crew apparel, and losses have mounted. Earlier this month, reports indicated J. Crew is in discussions with creditors to renegotiate its approximately $2 billion debt load and is also in the midst of a plan to transfer its intellectual property to an unrestricted Cayman Islands subsidiary. Insiders say executives are also mulling a spinoff of the popular Madewell brand.

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Filed Under: E-commerce
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