Online Shopping Up 60%

Traditional High Street shopping might still be the time-honoured and traditional method of filling the Christmas stockings but the IT way is fast catching up.

Now that the festive season is in full swing, online retailers are already looking likely to enjoy one of their biggest Christmas seasons yet.

Royal Mail predicts it will deliver a record 120 million items ordered online this festive season – double the number handled just three years ago.

The UK’s 27 million online shoppers are expected to spend £15 billion online in the run up to Christmas, up 60% on last year.

To meet demand, Royal Mail has been working with internet retailers to plan for the rush for Christmas presents and to ensure it delivers a high level of service.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail has also urged people to postcode their festive greetings carefully.

Millions of people are expected to sit down this week to start writing their Christmas cards to friends and family.

There are 5,400 “address detectives” ready to face up to the challenge of dealing with those 400 million poorly addressed and written cards that do not take care with their destination this Christmas.

Royal Mail expects to deliver more than two billion items over the festive period, but estimates 400 million cards and letters will not be able to be read by its automated sorting machinery either because the postcode has not been included, the item has been poorly addressed or the handwriting style is difficult to read.

Nearly 4,200 extra “address detectives” have been recruited for the festive season to support the 1,200-strong team who will decipher the addresses of items that cannot be read automatically so that the letters can still be processed by the sorting machinery rather than by hand.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “Mail volumes almost double on peak days in December and it is important that people properly address their Christmas cards and use the postcode.

"Letters and cards that have clearly written addresses and a postcode can be read by our machines and handled 20 times faster than by hand.

“Photographs of items that do not go through our sorting machinery, either because they do not have a postcode, or are poorly addressed, are called up on computer screens by our address detectives who use their skills to decipher the intended location and code the envelope so that it can still be sorted automatically rather than by hand.”

He added: “Many millions of items of mail handled by Royal Mail every year are incorrectly or poorly addressed but are still delivered to the right recipients thanks to the hard work, local knowledge and dedication of postmen and women across the UK.

“But people who take care with their addressing, and use the postcode, will help Royal Mail at its busiest time of the year," he said.

People can check postcodes online, free of charge, by going to www.royalmail.com or by calling 08457 111 222.


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