The UK's biggest parcel firm yesterday hit back at claims that it had been left with a backlog of up to 750,000 undelivered gifts and said it had made 20 million deliveries in time for Christmas.
Yodel, which counts Amazon among its major clients, sparked fury among some disappointed shoppers left without gifts in the run-up to Christmas – prompting hundreds to petition the online retailing giant and demand it stop using the delivery firm. But Yodel chief executive Jonathan Smith fiercely denied the huge backlog of parcels and said the firm had "slightly less than 3,000" gifts to deliver out of five million parcels entrusted to it by retailers in the week before Christmas.
Smith said: "Some of them had the wrong address, and some of them the people weren't in. We actually tried four or five times to deliver these. We investigate each failure and we have to do it case by case. But online shopping is really a collaborative affair between the retailer, the deliverer and the customer. People have to be there and we have to get the right information."
Smith added that Yodel would resume efforts to make the remaining deliveries on Wednesday, its first full day of operations since the Christmas break.
The 20 million parcels delivered by Yodel in the run-up to Christmas this year is a record – up from the 14.5 million made in 2009 and 12.8 million in 2010, when heavy snow dealt a major blow to deliveries. The firm takes on thousands of extra staff and extends working hours to cope with the Christmas rush.
Yodel is the nation's biggest delivery company behind the Royal Mail and was formed in March last year through the merger of the Home Delivery Network and DHL Domestic, creating a £650 million business.
The firm is owned by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, the billionaire brothers who also count the Telegraph newspapers among their business interests.