Marks & Spencer, the UK retailer, was forced to shut down for two hours Tuesday night when the site inexplicably began revealing customer data to visitors of the site.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer History

Founded in Leeds, United Kingdom in 1884, Marks and Spencer is a multi-national retailer specializing in luxury foods, clothing, and home furnishings. Just after the turn of the 20th Century the retailer gained fame as its stores refused to sell anything that wasn’t British made, a policy that it started to back away from only in the 1990’s. The retailer was also something of a British Nordstrom’s when it introduced the 1953 slogan: “The customer is always and completely right!” That belief went as far as accepting returns of any product, no matter when it was purchased, as long as the customer was in possession of a receipt.

Marks & Spencer launched an online shopping service in 1999, and yesterday that decision made 16 years ago looked a bit foolish if only for a few hours.

Marks & Spencer website goes a little wonky

On Tuesday, when Marks & Spencer account holders logged-in they were able to see the data of other customers including names, dates of birth, contacts and previous orders. While apologizing for this faux pas, Marks & Spencer made sure to tell the public that while some credit card data was shown, no complete numbers were shown to others during the snafu.

One user told the BBC about his experience with the website when he tried to enter a store loyalty card.

“It accepted my registration but then told me i had 9,000 sparks points which i thought was a bit odd,” Mark Hill told reporters.

“So, I looked at the account details and despite saying ‘hi Mark’ , it was quite clearly an account belonging to a female in a different part of the country.”

Marks & Spencer apologizes

The retailer made it quite clear that the data error was not the result of outsiders hacking the site nor a data breech akin to those suffered last year by retailers like Target and Home Depot among others.

“Due to a technical issue, we temporarily suspended our website yesterday evening,” an M&S spokesman said

“This allowed us to thoroughly investigate and resolve the issue and quickly restore service for our customers.”

No details were given by M&S as to how many customers’ information was inadvertently shared on Tuesday.