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UK retailers revisit cut-off dates for Christmas orders

Published
today Nov 14, 2019
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For the millions of Britons who leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute, knowing  they can buy last-minute presents online can be a relief.



But online shoppers are being urged to make sure their presents are ordered in time to avoid disappointment on the big day, as many UK retailers bring back their final Christmas order deadlines.

“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,” said ParcelHero head of consumer research, David Jinks.

Companies with fast-shipping programmes like Amazon, Argos and Asos even took orders on Christmas Eve, however it seems like this year, retailers are setting more realistic deadlines to ensure customer satisfaction.

Asos has reduced its final order times from 24 December in 2018 to 22 December this year; Next has pulled back from 22 December to 20 December and The Body Shop has changed from 19 December to 21 of the same month, said ParcelHero as it launched its online store’s Christmas booking dates tool.

The biggest change comes from Zara. The Spanish retailer has reduced its cut-off date by a full five days from last year’s deadline of 23 December.

“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,” Jinks continued.

“By pushing forward their final order date retailers have left themselves open to not getting presents delivered in time for Christmas Day: 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?”

Interestingly, some companies have pushed their deadlines forward in a bid to capture more last-minute shoppers, with gift retailer Firebox taking one of the biggest leaps and moving the cut-off date by five days to 23 December. Debenhams, Gap, John Lewis and the White Company have also changed their final dates.

ParcelHero noted that some retailers are likely to review their deadlines during Christmas, depending on how much stock is left and how their supply chain is coping. Asos and Boden were included in the group last year.

Jinks concluded: “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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