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Belk: Heavy traffic brought website down

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Portillo, Ely -
An outage message greeting Belk customers.

Charlotte-based Belk Inc. left many online customers trying to get Black Friday deals frustrated Thursday and Friday, as the retailer’s website repeatedly crashed.

By early evening, Belk.com was still down intermittently. The company’s Facebook page was flooded with hundreds of complaints from angry shoppers.

“I, like many of your other online customers, have been trying to access your website since yesterday evening without success,” wrote Tracey Lomax-Burton. “I am very disappointed as there was only one item that I was wanting to buy for a Christmas present. Thanks for a huge let-down!”

Last week, Belk said November is the “go-live” month for a new technology platform meant to replace much of the company’s information technology systems and merchandising system.

Customers complained Friday that they couldn’t access the site at all, or that they could not complete their orders. When the website came back online briefly Friday afternoon, customers wrote that the special discounts had ended and they couldn’t check out.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Belk posted a message on its Facebook page. “Thank you for your patience as Belk.com is temporarily offline. We’re working hard to welcome you back as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and will share new coupon codes here on Facebook when we are fully back online for deals you may have missed today,” the company wrote.

Responding to a request for comment, spokeswoman Jessica Graham said in an email that “high volume has caused intermittent outages on belk.com over the Thanksgiving holiday.”

She said the privately held company is working to correct the issue and thanked customers for their patience.

Belk, along with many other bricks-and-mortar retailers, has been seeking to boost its online presence. The company has invested millions of dollars in its e-commerce technologies in recent years. In securities filings, Belk has said a “disproportionate amount” of its revenue and profits come during the holiday season.

Some customers said Friday that they were taking their spending elsewhere.

“Oh, well, I ordered at Amazon.com since Belk wasn’t able to provide service or merchandise,” Cordelia Alderman wrote on Belk’s Facebook page.

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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