UK watchdog the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) is assessing the IT failures that disrupted operations at Greggs, Tesco, McDonald’s and Sainsbury’s in mid-March 2024.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s experienced a significant setback when an overnight software update caused a failure in contactless payments in stores and hindered most online grocery deliveries on 16 March.  

Tesco had to cancel what it described as a “small number” of orders due to a technical issue, although its in-store operations and online orders remained unaffected. 

On 15 March, a “global technology system outage” at McDonald’s halted order-taking at its restaurants worldwide.  

Bakery chain Greggs, which runs 2,450 shops in the UK, also faced IT system failures in some stores.  

The exact number of affected locations was not disclosed, but reports indicated problems in major cities such as London, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow.  

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Greggs stated that normal trading resumed after addressing a payment problem that forced some stores to close temporarily. 

The PSR is determining the need for further action following this series of technical glitches.  The regulator, which aims to ensure systems function effectively for users, states that it will refer the matter to the Bank of England if issues with the resilience of payment infrastructure are identified.