Tesco, Sainsbury’s websites go down amid third wave of panic buying


Tesco and Sainsbury’s websites both crashed yesterday evening following the announcement of another lockdown, leaving many customers unable to secure orders.

Hours after prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the UK would be entering its third national lockdown, panicked customers flocked to grocers’ websites to try and secure a delivery slot.

This saw the websites and apps of the UK’s two largest grocers buckle under the pressure of a fresh wave of panic buying for some hours, while Ocado and Morrisons customers were placed in queues stretching thousands of people.

Customers took to social media to complain that they were unable to complete orders or access both Tesco’s website and app late yesterday evening, following the announcement at 8pm.

While a Tesco spokesperson told the BBC that there were no reports from its technical department of any issues, the grocer responded to customers on Twitter stating it was “aware of an issue with our apps and website and we’re currently investigating this,” advising customers to “try again later”.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s to double online delivery capacity to 700,000 per week as second lockdown looms

Sainsbury’s experienced similar issues, with customers taking to social media to report problems with its website and app for a number of hours after the announcement.

These issues come despite all of these grocers spending the majority of 2020 rapidly expanding their delivery capabilities and ecommerce infrastructures.

In April Tesco become the first UK supermarket to top 1 million orders per week, which it has now expanded to 1.5 million.

Sainsbury’s meanwhile announced in October it had doubled its online delivery capacity to 700,000 per week since March and planned to add a further 1000 vans to its delivery fleet.

Ocado, which was plagued with delivery slot shortages for months during the first lockdown, has struggled to expand its capacity as rapidly due to the costs and complexity of its largely automated logistics infrastructure.

However the online grocer announced in September its was “on track to increase capacity by 40 per cent through 2021”.

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