Costco Pays Dearly for Shopping SNAFU

Website crashed on Thanksgiving, costing the company an estimated $11M in sales
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2019 2:19 PM CST
Costco Pays Dearly for Shopping SNAFU
Daisy Clark shops at a Kohl's store in Colma, Calif., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Black Friday 2019 is winding down, and if there's a quote that sums up the gist of the day's coverage, it might be this one in the Wall Street Journal. "The mad rush isn’t here anymore," says Reila Prose of the San Antonio area while shopping at Rolling Oaks Mall. "The mall has dwindled. You can get everything online." Still, the day remains a significant one for retailers, even if the "frenzy" of years past isn't present in the brick-and-mortar side of things, per Reuters. Related coverage:

  • Ouch: Costco learned the hard way how important it is for things to go right this time of year. The chain's website crashed for more than 16 hours on Thanksgiving, and Business Insider figures it cost the retailer somewhere in the neighborhood of $11.5 million in sales.
  • Numbers: If foot traffic at stores is down, this will help: Online sales on Thanksgiving rose 15% over last year to $4.2 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. The online estimate for Black Friday is $7.4 billion, up a solid 19%. "This has been a really good start," Rod Sides, vice chairman and leader of retail and distribution practice at Deloitte LLP, tells the AP.

  • General shift: 36% of Americans planned to shop on Black Friday, about the same as last year but down from 59% in 2015, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey cited by AFP. Increasingly, the day just isn't standing out as much as it once did amid relentless seasonal sales. "Just a few years ago, Black Friday had the aura of a FOMO (fear of missing out) event," PWC said. "Now it seems more symbolic than significant in the pantheon of retail holidays."
  • Milestone: For the first time, most American consumers (54%) plan to do most of their holiday shopping online this year, per the Washington Post. And that dovetails into the next big shopping day: Cyber Monday on Dec. 2. Traditionally, this is the online counterpart to the physical shopping of Black Friday, though that line is blurring.
  • Cyber Monday: Need to start preparing for next week? Forbes and USA Today have a look at upcoming deals of all kinds.
France is thinking about doing away with Black Friday altogether. (More Black Friday stories.)

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