The launch of a liquidation sale by electronics retailer Best Buy on Thursday morning generated such fervor that the store’s website crashed and the company had to close all of its 41 stores early after lines of customers waiting outside prompted concerns about overcrowding.
“For Best Buy México, the most important thing is your security and health and for this reason, due to the high numbers of customers at stores today, we have decided to close our physical stores before normal closing times,” the company announced by mid-afternoon on social media.
The retailer announced November 24 that it would begin closing its stores in Mexico at the end of the year. The liquidation sale, both online and at brick-and-mortar stores, was offering discounts of up to 60%, which caused customers to storm its website last night. Many popular items were sold out by morning.
At one point the online store went down, which caused more problems at some physical stores when even more customers showed up looking for deals. As a result, by Thursday morning people were lining up outside stores in cities all over Mexico on a level seen only at Black Friday sales in the U.S.
In Mexico City’s Cuauhtémoc neighborhood and in the city of Querétaro hundreds of customers were waiting at the doors before the stores even opened. By later in the day, lines were winding all the way through the malls where the stores are located.
“All the stores must be full to the brim; there’s an enormous line,” remarked Emmanuel Parra, a customer waiting in line outside a Best Buy at the Forum Buenavista mall in Mexico City around 1 p.m. “Who knows when we’re going to leave here and if we’ll even manage to buy anything.”
Aminadat Maciel, waiting in the same line as Parra, was one of many customers hoping to get the Nintendo Switch at a deep discount.
“[It] costs approximately 10,000 pesos, [and] is on sale for 3,500 pesos, including a game,” she explained. “You can also get games, which are normally 1,800, for 500 pesos. Everything is at a super discount.”
In Querétaro’s Paseo Querétaro mall, health officials also showed up after hundreds of customers formed lines that eventually wound back all the way to the shopping center’s entrance.
The company said on social media Friday morning that to avoid large crowds forming it would adopt a more orderly approach and announce discounts by product category.