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Retailers calling time for Christmas online orders

Tom Bottomley
20 December 2022

Strikes and backlogs caused by last week’s severe weather mean some retailers are no longer guaranteeing they can deliver in time for Christmas.

In fact, with five days to go until Christmas Day, some brands and retailers have already called time on online orders if customers want them before the big day, including M&S (clothing) Paul Smith, Nigel Cabourn and Ann Summers.

Stores which are stopping to take Christmas orders today, 20 December, include Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Superdry, as well as menswear independents such as Peggs & Son in Brighton and The Modern Draper in Beverley, Yorkshire.

The likes of Boden, Gap, House of Fraser, New Look, Colourful Standard and The White Company will be calling time tomorrow, 21 December, with Sports Direct taking orders right up until 8pm tomorrow for guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. Jigsaw is holding out until 22 December, as is Article menswear in London, with last shipping available through DPD.

David Jinks, Head of Consumer Research at delivery expert ParcelHero, said: “From Ann Summers to Waterstones, many of the UK’s leading retailers have decided to call it quits on Christmas deliveries already.

“Even before Arctic conditions hit the UK, deliveries were backing up. Retailers and individuals have all been switching to couriers to avoid the impact of industrial action in the traditional postal network, and this unexpected extra volume of parcels has taken some courier networks by surprise.

“Rather than disappoint customers, some of Britain’s best-loved stores have faced the problems head-on and they are no longer saying they can deliver in time for Christmas.

“Retailers have had to react quickly to the escalating issues in the delivery network. For example, back in November, Harvey Nichols gave a deadline of 23 December for final orders; now its last order date is today. This is a far more sensible approach than some other stores, which still don’t include final Christmas cut-off dates on their websites, leaving customers to order in hope.

“It’s not only the impact of the strike in the traditional postal industry that has created knock-on delays. There was already a shortage of seasonal staff such as delivery drivers and warehouse workers following Brexit. It’s fortunate that the Amazon strike called at its Coventry distribution centre is not expected to take place until the new year, or there would be a lot of disappointed faces on Christmas Day around the UK.

“With all this Christmas confusion, ParcelHero has re-launched our popular Christmas tool in the nick of time (on the ParcelHero website). You can now discover retailers’ final online order dates in time for Christmas, find out the last mailing dates for presents to UK and international destinations, and see handy packaging and Customs clearance hacks to help ensure gifts reach their destinations in time.”

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