Woolworths just had an Australia-wide IT crash, and it created chaos at checkouts

Photo: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Woolworths ground to a halt this afternoon, hit by a technical outage which shut its registers.

Customers, told that registers could be out for an hour, had been abandoning their trolleys.

“Utter chaos,” one customer tweeted. Reports put the outage as a national issue.

Queues lengthened at checkouts. Other reports suggested stores were closing.

“Shoppers have been told to leave groceries in baskets in the aisle,” said one tweet from Brisbane

At 4.49 pm (AEST), Woolworths confirmed in a tweet that “an IT issue impacted registers in our supermarkets”.

A Woolworths spokesman told Business Insider: “We can confirm that an IT issue impacted registers in our supermarkets for a short period of time this afternoon. The registers are now back online in all our stores. We apologise for the inconvenience this caused our customers.”

Customers took to social media.

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In the 2017 financial year, Woolworths employed just over 200,000 people and processed $55 billion in sales.

The company started a major turnaround in its performance last year after years of lagging its key competitor, Coles.

It is engaged in a five-point turnaround plan under CEO Brad Banducci that saw it surge back into profit last year.

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