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"The worst is yet to come": ParcelHero predicts Christmas chaos for online retailers and couriers

A UK delivery company has predicted that “the worst is yet to come” for online retailers and couriers.

ParcelHero has said that Christmas 2020 could be 50 per cent busier than last year due to shopping habit changes caused by social distancing.

The company said that many in the sector are already “stretched to capacity”, and that the Christmas period will double deliveries for many retailers, and “snap” overstretched supply chains.

It said that the combination of an increase in gifts being mailed and a shortage of skilled drivers created by Brexit, could be “a mountain too high to climb”, and urged others in the secretary to escalate Christmas planning.

David Jinks MILT, ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, commented: “The huge demand for deliveries is being compounded by the reported loss of a quarter of a million EU nationals from the UK economy this year, which will lead to a 30 per cent shortfall in drivers and warehouse workers.

“Even though many retailers and delivery companies are attempting to hire thousands more staff in preparation for this year’s Christmas peak, this might be difficult to do in practice.

“Retailers may need to radically shake up their Christmas distribution plans.

“Despite a partial pick-up of high street store sales in recent months, online sales are still over 50% higher compared to a year ago.

“ParcelHero had its busiest day ever just last week and online pure-play Ocado has overtaken Tesco to become the UK’s most valuable retailer.

“This year’s home delivery growth is unprecedented for both parcels and groceries.

“With capacity already stretched, the impact of Christmas can’t be underestimated.

“For many retailers, Christmas at least doubles their usual sales. Indeed, there are some companies that run at a loss for the rest of the year and make almost all their profits at Christmas.

“With many families unable to get together this Christmas, more people than usual will be sending presents to loved ones and ordering their gifts online.

“We anticipate Christmas volumes could be 50 per cent higher than last year.

“With supply chains stretched to breaking point, we advise online shoppers to buy their presents in good time and that everyone sends their presents with time to spare, as Britain’s couriers battle with potentially record volumes.”

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