Debenhams’ has been forced to place online shoppers in a lengthy virtual queue after hundreds of thousands flocked to the recently collapsed retailer in search of a bargain.
News that the Debenhams had fallen into administration yesterday and would begin winding down its operations sent bargain hunters swarming to the retailer’s website.
However, the nearly 250-year-old business struggled to handle the sudden influx of traffic after it announced a fire sale early yesterday morning.
Debenhams was subsequently forced to place users in a virtual queue throughout yesterday, which remains in place at the time of writing, stating: “Sorry for the wait, we are currently using a virtual queue due to exceptional demand. We will get you onto the site as soon as possible.”
Some shoppers complained of having a 50-minute wait time while others said there was a whopping 900,000 shoppers ahead of them in the queue.
Others complained on social media that they were “kicked out” of the virtual queue before being able to access the website after waiting for extended periods.
@Debenhams the queue told me it was a 5 min wait, 40mins later I’m in but got kicked out straight away to be put back into the queue. I only want to sort out a return!
— Kirsty Fayle (@kirstiphineg) December 2, 2020
Sadly, the @Debenhams queue system on the website is utterly hopeless. Happy to have a queue, but have been kicked out whilst shopping 3 times now 🙄
— Nick Parish (@Longingtobeholy) December 2, 2020
While many scrambled to get their hands on Debenhams’ discounts, others took a more sympathetic view of the 12,000 people set to lose their jobs as the retailer winds down.
I agree with the others – well said indeed! It's disheartening (to say the least) to see people so intent on getting a bargain and not caring for the awful situation many people and families are in as a result of this.
— KBw (@KBw2319) December 2, 2020
Although chancellor Rishi Sunak told those affected he “stands ready” to help, it came just hours after a further 13,000 retail workers had their jobs placed in jeopardy as Arcadia succumbed to a similar fate.
For now Debenhams will continue to trade through its 124 stores, which will begin to reopen this week as the UK’s national lockdown comes to an end, to clear it current stock.
“Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain,” Debenhams said.
“The administrators have therefore regretfully concluded that they should commence a wind-down of Debenhams UK, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business.”