The website of retail giant Wal-Mart was hit by intermittent outages on one of the busiest shopping days of the year as it failed to cope with the level of traffic.
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Visitors to the Walmart.com experienced delayed searches, blank pages and messages advising them to try again later for most of last Friday – the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday and the traditional start to the festive shopping season in the US.
A spokesperson for the retailer said the problems were caused by a “higher than anticipated traffic surge” as shoppers rushed online.
The Walmart.com crash followed problems at Amazon.com, where a Thanksgiving day special offer on Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game machines brought a brief outage.
The site is expected to attract another surge of visitors this week, which begins with “Cyber Monday” – so-called because of the number of office staff returning to work after the Thanksgiving break who take the opportunity to do a bit of online festive shopping from their desks.
Industry analysts calculate that the Wal-Mart website received more than 22.8 million unique visitors in September, making it the 21st most popular US site.
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