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Major retailers pull back final Christmas order deadlines and delivery dates

Tom Bottomley
15 November 2019

A number of major retailers, including Harrods, Next, Zara and ASOS, are pulling back their final online Christmas order deadlines, according to new research from international delivery company ParcelHero.

Last year many retailers were absolutely pushing final Christmas delivery dates down to the wire to cater for the thousands of online last-minute Christmas shoppers. The likes of Amazon, Argos and ASOS even took orders on Christmas Eve.

This year, the ParcelHero research shows retailers rowing back from last Christmas’s last-ditch final deadlines. ASOS has said its final deadline is 22 December this year, rather than last year’s Christmas Eve same-day delivery. Next has pulled back from the 22 to 20 December, as has Harrods, and Zara is bringing back its deadline a full five days – from 23 December last year to 18 December this year.

ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, says: “In the last few years we’ve grown used to seeing final order dates inch forwards a little more every Christmas. This year our Christmas deadline tool reveals deadlines have gone into reverse. It’s possibly a reflection of the troubles that can hit retailers’ supply chains at their peak period of the year.

“By pushing forward their final order date retailers have left themselves open to not getting presents delivered in time for Christmas Day, which is the ultimate retail sin. Some retailers may be thinking it’s simply not worth the risk of having orders cancelled because the gifts missed the big day. Why risk upsetting and alienating previously loyal customers?”

However, not every retailer is pulling back on Christmas deadlines, as they push dates as far forward as they can to “mop up every last-minute order.” Debenhams has stepped up to the plate with a new deadline of 23 December, from last year’s 21st deadline, John Lewis is going from December 22 to 23 and Gap is surprisingly going from December 18 to 23.

Jinks added: “Some retailers actually revise their final order dates during December, depending on how much stock is left and how their supply chain is coping. We expect to see ASOS’ final date revisited again this December as the pressure rises to give shoppers last minute orders.

“That’s why our online deadline tool is live and constantly updated. While we don’t want to encourage last-minute shopping, because of the risk of gifts missing Christmas Day. We think it’s best to make sure shoppers are fully informed of the cut-off dates for placing orders.”

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