Argos has quashed talk of an outage on its website, saying it has already had 2.5 million visits to its website – just as John Lewis' website collapsed under the pressure as Black Friday's shopping frenzy continued apace.
In a statement, Argos said its website had "not crashed or seen any outages at any point today".
"We are seeing very high levels of traffic, with over 2.5 million visits so far which is continuing to grow by the hour.
"We are actively managing the flow of traffic through our website and have processes in place to ensure all customers can complete their transactions. We are very sorry if some customers are experiencing a delay as a result. Lots of successful orders are being placed so we ask them to please be patient."
However, at 3pm today, figures by Capacitas suggested Argos' website was taking 5.5 seconds to load, 10 times longer than Amazon.
Meanwhile, at around 3.20pm John Lewis' website, which was experiencing a load time of 0.4 seconds, went down. At 4pm the site was still down.
A spokesperson for John Lewis said: "There are record levels of demand for our website today and for some people it is taking longer than normal to shop on johnlewis.com. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused."
A live counter produced by digital Marketing Agency Red Hot Penny, suggested this year's Black Friday was well on course to be the UK's first-ever £1bn shopping day.
The counter, which tracks sales through data from Experian, showed shoppers had spent more than £872m at just after 4pm.