Traffic Snarls Grocery Websites

Israelis doing their holiday shopping online this week found major food retailers' sites overloaded.

Shoppers hoping to avoid lines at supermarkets by making their holiday purchases online were disappointed as the websites of three major Israeli food retailers were snarled by unusually heavy demand.

On the website of discount supermarket chain Rami Levi, an announcement went up on Wednesday saying it would not take any new orders online until after Rosh Hashanah At Super-Sol and Mega, they were still taking orders but could not ensure timely deliveries.

Online food buying accounts for a small part of supermarket sales, but they rise before the holidays as shoppers try to avoid checkout lines.

"We closed the site until September 18 because of the heavy traffic. Orders were running at four times the regular daily rate and we want to give customers good service, which is impossible at those levels," Rami Levi said.