Myer website crash due to 'communication breakdown': IBM

A breakdown within its servers and software applications brought down the website of major Australian retailer Myer during the Christmas period.

The website of major Australian retailer Myer was brought down for over a week during the post-Christmas sales due to a "communication breakdown".

"An IBM team of local and global experts worked around the clock with Myer to resolve the issue with its online store. The technical issue was caused by a communication breakdown between internet servers and a software application," an IBM spokesperson told ZDNet on Monday.

"IBM and Myer will work together to conduct a thorough review to ensure this issue does not reoccur. IBM is committed to supporting Myer to continue to provide high-quality service to its customers."

After advertising "Australia's biggest stocktake sale" in the lead up to Boxing Day, visitors to its website on December 26 discovered that the website had been taken down, with the company saying on its Facebook page that it was "experiencing some technical difficulties" on its site.

It wasn't until January 2, a full week later, that the website was back up and running. The retail giant said it would be monitoring the site and offering free shipping as compensation for failing to fulfil its advertised availability during the Christmas period.

However, many customers have continued to be unable to shop online, with Myer stating as late as Sunday that people were "still experiencing difficulties with the site".

Despite this, Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes told The Australian (paywall) last week that he is thankful for IBM's work on restoring the website.

"IBM have been exceptional in how they've acted throughout this. We wouldn't expect any compensation from IBM; we're not pursuing them, we're thanking them," Brookes said.  "It's frustrating and it's irritating, but it's only been down for a week out of five years"

Brookes placed the monetary loss on the sales at "less than 1 percent of our business, which translates to AU$31 million".

Brookes added today that since bringing the website back online, the company has been getting around "3,000 shoppers at any one time".

Myer first outsourced its IT operations to IBM in a five-year deal of an undisclosed value in 2006.