Target Works to Fix Web Site Before Holidays

With Black Friday quickly approaching, and retail Web sites expected to be a key component in driving holiday sales, the company says it has a team working to ensure that its site is operating efficiently during the upcoming season.

With the biggest shopping day of the year fast approaching, Target Corporation has less than three weeks to fix its new Web site-which has crashed repeatedly since it went live on August 23.

Citing Web monitor AlertBot, Bloomberg reported that the site has crashed six times since its debut and accounted for more than half of the major outages this year at the top 100 U.S. sites by revenue.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is typically a lucrative day for retailers and marks the beginning of the holiday season-a critical sales period.

Web sites are a key component in driving those sales: The National Retail Federation is predicting that about 82 percent of holiday shoppers will do some of their buying online this year, according to Bloomberg.

Target vows that its site will be functioning properly during the holidays. “We have a team dedicated to addressing concerns, and are working diligently to ensure that the site is operating efficiently for the holiday season,” Target spokeswoman Morgan O'Murray told Bloomberg. The retailer reportedly declined to reveal specific plans for the site or make an executive available for an interview.

Target's Web site troubles began about two-and-a-half months ago when the retailer-which previously outsourced its online operations to a new e-commerce Web site that it manages in-house.

Shortly after that, customers began complaining about glitches, including issues with bridal and gift registries. Target apologized to some registry users and offered a discount on their next online purchase.

Then on September 13, following the launch of Target's exclusive line from Italian high-fashion brand Missoni, crashed amid high demand for the limited-edition products. Some online orders were reportedly cancelled or delayed, prompting many customers to vent their frustrations on social media sites.

On October 13, Target announced that President Steve Eastman left the company “to pursue other opportunities.” On the same day, media reports indicated that Target's site went down again for several hours-and Bloomberg reported that the site has crashed four more times since Eastman's departure, including once last week. When it has been running, customers have reportedly complained about problems with checkout and continuing issues with gift registries.

Target has said that the Web generates about 2 percent of its nearly $70 billion in annual sales, and many more purchases are influenced by browsing on, according to Bloomberg.

To read more from Bloomberg about Target's online troubles, what the company is doing to address them, and what the experts say, click here.