Woolworths' IT glitch strands shoppers, company issues apology

Woolworths queue

Woolworths queue

Dubbo shoppers were among those forced to abandon their trolleys as an IT update had unexpected consequences at Woolworths stores across the country on Monday.

A technical glitch hit about half of Woolworths' 995 Australian stores and attached BWS liquor outlets for about 30 minutes on Monday afternoon.

In a statement, Woolworths said the outage was related to an IT systems update before registers came back online by about 4.30pm.

"This type of incident should not occur and we apologise unreservedly to our customers and store teams for the inconvenience caused," Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said.

Dubbo’s Linda McCarthy had a trolley loaded with groceries at Woolworths’ Orana Mall store when she encountered a lengthy line-up for the check-outs.

She said at first they didn’t know what was going on, before an announcement explained the checkouts had stopped functioning.

Staff had given everyone a chocolate and then customers were asked to leave, she said, and she saw the doors rolling down.

The glitch delivered a boon to Woolworths’ competition, Ms McCarthy reported.

“Everybody in Dubbo went to Coles [when the outage happened,” she said.

“Coles was packed, it was like Christmas down there.”

Ms McCarthy praised the local Woolworths staff who were all “very kind and very helpful”.

Nationally, some shoppers vented their frustration on social media, with one woman tweeting: "I hope (at) Woolworths are going to donate all those $1 and $2 coins we had to leave in our trolleys when they closed the stores today to a suitable charity".