walmart

Wal-Mart's online 'sale' is really not what it seems

Nov. 6, 2013 at 7:49 PM ET

A worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Walmart store in La Habra, Calif., in May 2013.
Jae C. Hong / AP
A worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Walmart store in La Habra, Calif., in May 2013. A technical glitch on Wednesday offered items on the chains's web site at ridiculously low prices.

Shoppers looking for a bargain got some big ones, if only temporarily, at Walmart.com on Wednesday morning. 

A technical glitch on the Wal-Mart Stores website offered some items at a fraction of their actual retail price. 

Treadmills, which normally cost hundreds of dollars, were priced at $33.16. LCD computer monitors were offered for $9. 

Ravi Jariwala, a spokesman for Walmart.com, said in the late afternoon that the problem had been fixed and that the mistakenly priced orders would not be honored. 

"Given the wide discrepancy in pricing, we are notifying customers who ordered these items that their orders have been canceled and that they'll be refunded in full," Jariwala said in an e-mail. Walmart.com will also offer those shoppers a $10 gift card. 

The company did not say how many orders were placed at the low prices. Most of the affected products were electronics, said Jariwala, adding that the website was not available at times on Wednesday while repairs were made. 

The glitch comes at the start of what analysts say will be a particularly competitive holiday season. 

Wal-Mart kicked off its online holiday-season deals Nov. 1, a month earlier than usual. The earlier deals and bigger incentives come after data firm ShopperTrak forecast the slowest holiday sales growth since 2009. 

"This is particularly disappointing since Wal-Mart has been investing aggressively in e-commerce in the last two years," said Brian Sozzi, CEO & Chief Equities Strategist at Belus Capital Advisors. 

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Wal-Mart kicks off online holiday deals early


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