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Delivery firms report record trade as December shopping hots up

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Deliveries of online orders are continuing to run at record levels as more shoppers buy over the internet this Christmas.

Delivery management specialist MetaPack, whose software is used by many online retailers to manage their deliveries, says the second Sunday and Monday in December were the highest online trading days of the year, for the third year running. Deliveries were up by 2.5% on both days compared to the previous years, and last week was 21% up on the previous week. MetaPack also suggests that the coming Sunday and Monday will continue to see high levels of online sales.

“Where the corresponding Monday last year dropped by 6% week-on-week, owing to the adverse weather conditions, this year people are more comfortable leaving their online purchases later with the knowledge they will arrive on tim," said Patrick Wall, founder and chief executive of MetaPack. "We expect online trading to stay at record levels throughout this week and for sales to be strong next Sunday and Monday.”

MetaPack has also noticed a marked uptake in orders being despatched on Sundays throughout December with Sundays being on average 163% higher than in 2010. “During the peak selling period, retailers have made arrangements with carriers to pick up parcels on the Sunday, ready for the appropriate delivery during the week," said Wall. "This spreads out the volume and helps get deliveries through on time despite the increased orders. This 24/7 mentality is becoming the norm and we will only see it increasing in coming years."

Parcel carrier APC Overnight has reported that it is handling record volumes of parcels in the run up to Christmas. The Wolverhampton-based company, pictured making a delivery, just set a new record of 101,015 parcels a night and says that volumes are up by more than 10,000 parcels a night compared to last year. APC, which has 120 branches across the UK, says it has seen a steady increase in business from Internet-based companies throughout the year.

Ivor Skinner, managing director of APC Overnight, said: “Christmas is our busiest period of the year and we expect to process and deliver significantly higher volumes of parcels than any previous year. To maximise the strength of our service an additional 100 people will join the team at our national sortation hub and our local depot partners are employing extra resources to ensure that parcels are delivered."

The company delivers for retailers including wine, cider and food makers, from ND John Wine Merchants to The Cheese Society and Gower Cottage Brownies.

Retailers are also flagging up ways customers can take delivery of their Christmas shopping right up to the last minute. Among them is Halfords, which is now offering reserve online to collect in store an hour later on Christmas Eve. Those ordering for home delivery need to do so by Monday December 19 for standard delivery and Wednesday December 21 for next-day delivery.

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