Yodel chief: ‘Black Friday caught everyone out’

The executive chairman of Yodel has said everyone was caught out by the surge in orders around Black Friday promotions but has promised parcels will arrive in time for Christmas.

The delivery service was this week forced to warn consumers of a three day delay in delivery as it waded through the backlog of orders.

Executive chairman, Dick Stead, told the Mail on Sunday that sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday exceeded expectations.

“There has been a deluge of parcels. It has caught the manufacturers out, it has caught the retailers out and it has caught the parcel carriers out,” he said.

“We asked the retailers to give an indication of what they would require and we add a little bit to that and then we build a brand new network for Christmas. But everyone was surprised by the volumes we have seen. We suspect many retailers themselves have backlogs.”

IMRG predicted ahead of the event that around £555m would be spent on Black Friday, however an estimated 181 million people spent in excess of £810m. Just two days later on Cyber Monday British consumers went on to spend in excess of £720m, well over the £650m IMRG predicted.

Stead has apologised for the frustration people feel for not knowing where their items are.

“I am personally happy to give my assurance that you can place orders and they will be delivered in time for Christmas. If that changes, if for any reason volumes are any dramatically different from what we now expect, I will forewarn people,” he said.

Stead added that he will personally place online orders early next week and is confident they will arrive in time.

“My idea was to place some orders online this weekend, but now I am going to be rather busy. I will be placing orders on Monday or Tuesday for Christmas and I am confident enough to do that,” he said.

Yodel is currently handling 5.5 million parcels a week – up from four million a week this time last year – and has doubled its workforce from 8,000 in the run up to Chirstmas.

However, he added: “The weekend after Black Friday we went to find more HGV drivers but couldn’t find sufficient. There is a shortage.”

Yodel is one of several firms struggling to cope. This week, Marks & Spencer altered delivery dates with standard delivery parcels taking up to 10 days to reach customers, compared with its normal service of up to five days.

Similarly, Argos changed its delivery options following an unexpected rush in orders over the Black Friday weekend.

Across social media, only one per cent of conversations about delivery of products ordered on Black Friday have been positive, according to the analysis of 65,500 UK Twitter conversations from Pelipod.

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