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The Debenhams website has been overwhelmed by shoppers searching for bargains after the department store chain collapsed.
The firm will launch a huge stock clearance sale on Wednesday at 07:00 as non-essential retailers in England reopen after a four-week lockdown.
But many people complained on Tuesday after being placed in virtual queues with thousands of other shoppers.
“We have been seeing unprecedented levels of visits,” a spokesperson said.
In a bid to keep up with the additional demand, the retailer was forced to implement a queuing system for its website, which promised customers: “We will get you onto the site as soon as possible.”
Some social media users reported as many as 900,000 other customers in the queue for the website.
The company had already been running a 14-day “Black Friday” sales event, with discounts of up to 70% expected from Wednesday onwards in-store and online
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A website meant to help local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been able to keep up with demand.
© Global News / File
Winnipeg restaurant owner Obby Khan.
Goodlocal.ca, run by Winnipeg restaurateur and businessman Obby Khan, had to press pause to be reconfigured to deal with an avalanche of traffic.
“There’s been a massive paradigm shift in the way people are thinking about shopping — and especially shopping local — during COVID,” Khan told 680 CJOB.
“The response… you go anywhere, and everyone wants to support locals.”
Khan said he came up with the website earlier in the pandemic because he wanted to support local businesses but wasn’t sure how to do so.
“As a local guy who wanted to support local… I created a platform where everything good and everything local can be on Goodlocal.
“We launched about three weeks ago, and we had 18