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PEAK 2019 Online pre-Christmas discounting continues while returns could peak today

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Moving on from Cyber Weekend

With Black Friday behind it, Amazon is moving onto a second phase of discounting ahead of Christmas. 

The retailer, ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, today launched a Last Minute Christmas Deals event.  It says that customers can find deals from a range of brands in categories from electronics and beauty to grocery and pets. Shoppers can also use discount vouchers for savings at the checkout on a wider range of products. Amazon will continue to use its ‘lightning deals’ approach until December 22, while app users can set alerts for the deals they want to see. 

Amazon also says that it has extended its returns period for the Christmas season, with items sent out between November 1 and December 31 2019 able to be returned until January 31 2020. 

Returns expected to peak today

Today is predicted to be the UK’s biggest day of the year for Christmas returns. Retailers can expect see returns registered online at a rate that is 140% ahead of an average weekday, according to returns specialist ReBound. 

The peak is expected a week after Cyber Monday – when the number of return registrations was 96% up on the average weekday, according to ReBound. Activity on Tuesday December 3 was 116% higher than average, it suggests. 

Overall, ReBound predicts that retailers will be hit to the tune of a collective £2.6bn, spent on receiving, processing and refunding returns before Christmas, and then in January selling the item at a discount. 

Graham Best, chief executive of ReBound, said: “Spotting return registrations early is the canary in the mine for retailers and this data warns that they’re about to receive a flood of items following huge Black Friday selling sprees. However, from our data we expect retailers will be grappling with high return rates well into the New Year. Brands need to be more aware of the value of the stock being sent back to them, but the intense focus on festive selling means they often only open returned parcels in their warehouse in January, by which time they’ll likely be reselling the stock at discounted New Year rates.”

Christmas deliveries to Brownsea Island

This December postman Sheridan Bartlett will continue a century-long tradition of delivering Christmas mail to Brownsea Island. 

The tiny island is home to about 30 people and postal deliveries are completed by boat today as they have been for more than 100 years.

Bartlett takes the post on the 7.55am ferry from Poole, and once on the island his route covers 12 delivery points, including the local National Trust property office, Brownsea Castle, and the homes of the Trust staff who live on the island. He says the extremes of the British weather – particularly during the winter months – mean that this delivery round is not always plain sailing.

Bartlett said: “When the sea whips up it can get pretty rocky at this time of year. It can also be quite dark when you set off in the mornings. But it’s a fantastic, close-knit community on the island. I have got to know most of the residents there over the past few years, and they really appreciate the fact that Royal Mail delivers throughout the Christmas season. It’s great to see their faces light up when you arrive with a cherished delivery.”

Matthew Goodwin, Royal Mail Westbourne delivery office manager, said: “Brownsea Island is one of our most unusual and most scenic postal routes. We really value the opportunity of helping this close-knit community stay connected with friends and family during the festive season!”

Main image: Fotolia

Second image courtesy of Royal Mail

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