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Best Buy Deja Vu? Website Crashes as Shoppers Ramp Up

Source: bestbuy.com

Oh, Best Buy, really? Your website is down on the Monday before Black Friday?

If you are looking to do a little prep for Black Friday shopping by comparing TV prices online, Best Buy is not going to be much help today. The site has been showing a notice: "Our site is incredibly busy! Please be patient while we shovel you a path." But it is not even snowing.

And guess what? If the site is overwhelmed today, I am guessing this is not a good sign for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. (Well, it might be a good sign for Amazon and Wal-Mart.)

This latest step in the wrong direction could not come at a worse time. Best Buy's new management team met with analysts last week to share the path to recovery and inspire renewed confidence in the company. But Monday's website crashes are giving me flashbacks of execution issues last year. Remember when customers did not receive their products by the time Santa arrived?

Not only is Black Friday just around the corner, but management just finished explaining to the investment community how they are planning to gain share online by addressing abandon rates and complexity. This is not the way to start a fresh relationship with investors or consumers.

Best Buy reports third-quarter earnings before the market's open Tuesday. After last week's analyst presentation and a less than inspiring same-store sales guide back in October — which said the decline in same-store sales would be similar to the first and second quarter, which translates into a decline in the range of 3.2 percent to 5.3 percent — we were not expecting any big news. Now, we have something to talk about.

Stacey Widlitz is the President of SW Retail Advisors Inc. She has worked at UBS, SG Cowen, Fulcrum Partners and in 2005 was one of three analysts to launch the Research Department at Pali Capital, where she covered Retail and Home Video for 5 years. Follow Stacey on Twitter @StaceyRetail.

Retail