Database problem shuts down Walmart.com

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Internet presence was shuttered for approximately nine hours Tuesday morning due to database problems.

Cynthia Lin, a spokeswoman at Walmart.com Inc. in Brisbane, Calif., said an unspecified database glitch caused the company’s entire Web site to go down around 1 a.m. PDT. The problem was fixed by 9:50 a.m., according to Lin.

“A problem occurred with the database. The problem has been resolved,” Lin said. She didn’t identify what type of database was affected but said the outage wasn’t directly linked to upgrades on the site. “It’s not specific to anything,” she added.

The online version of the world’s number one retailer has had a tumultuous past six months as it has struggled to live up to the brick-and-mortar company’s reputation for retailing prowess. Walmart.com is jointly owned by Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart and Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm Accel Partners.

Last October, Walmart.com reopened after a month-long makeover. During that time, the Web site was inaccessible. The makeover included a switch to a new e-commerce application platform that the company bought in July from now-defunct online retailer HomeWareHouse.com.

In February, Walmart.com laid off about 10 per cent of its employees, or 24 people, as part of a move to cut merchandising operations that weren’t successful on its site. In addition to the layoffs, an undisclosed number of employees at Walmart.com were redeployed into new jobs.

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