Online stores bring forward last order dates before Christmas and warn of delays

Online stores are warning of potential delivery delays ahead of Christmas, with many bringing their final date for last orders forward.

Those who haven’t started their Christmas shopping yet might be about to feel the pressure as retailers such as Topshop, Superdry and New Look are no longer offering express delivery options.

Topshop, which went into administration on Monday along with the rest of the Arcadia group, also brought forward the last day for orders before festivities begin from December 23 to December 21.

Agent Provocateur and The White Company have also signposted December 21 as their last day for orders.

It comes as it’s estimated an extra 200 million parcels are being processed this year, after the coronavirus outbreak closed certain shops and forced customers to purchase goods online.

The latest lockdown, which ended just days ago, meant high streets had been left unseasonably empty in the run up to Christmas.

But with shoppers now putting their orders in over the internet, it means a huge influx of parcels to be packed and delivered.

The Royal Mail, and other courier companies such as Amazon, Yodel and Hermes have been advertising for more staff in the lead up to December.

But it seems that the delivery system is still struggling to cope.

Another worry, is that bad weather, such as snow and ice, could slow deliveries down even more.

Parts of the UK have already been hit by snow, and if the colder weather is set to continue, it could cause havoc on the roads and railway lines used by retailers.

David Jinks of courier firm ParcelHero said last year, 387million of the 462million Christmas peak deliveries were online shopping orders.

This year, that is expected to jump to 592million in the weeks before Christmas as families turn to posting gifts to loved ones they may not get chance to see in person, thanks to the strict household bubble system put in place for 23 to 27 December.

Mr Jinks told the Daily Mail: “Given the strain on delivery services already, we won’t be at all surprised if many more retailers change to even earlier final order dates as Christmas nears.”

Evans Cycles has now said customers must place orders by December 17, a whopping five days earlier than the date it had first set, which was December 23.

In fact, many retailers have been encouraging their customers to begin their Christmas shopping as early as September this year to avoid disappointment.

Of course, those who haven’t even made a start on present buying yet might find that they don’t have much time to get their orders in now, especially if they are unable to get to certain stores to access click and collect services.

Cath Kidston – which still operates online after collapsing earlier this year – has temporarily paused their express delivery services and New Look warns buyers that their delivery dates are “subject to change” during their busy periods.

Topshop is no longer offering its “express to home” and “express to parcel shop” service and as well as scrapping next day delivery, while The White Company is warning shoppers of possible delays of up to 14 days.

And Superdry is giving customers two potential dates for delivery, depending whether the stock is being shipped from a UK warehouse, or one in Belgium.

Basically, ordering as early as possible is the best way to go to make sure everything you want for Christmas will arrive before the big day.