First Christmas present returned at 01:12am on Christmas Day, CollectPlus reveals

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CollectPlus, the UK’s largest store-based parcel delivery and returns company, has revealed the last parcel collection made this Christmas was recorded at 23:59 on 24 December 2013 – with the first return made just one hour later on Christmas Day at 01:12am.

Rather than waiting until the shops reopen after the festivities, one CollectPlus customer made an early morning trip to their local international supermarket in Birmingham in the West Midlands, to return an unwanted Christmas present. Just one hour earlier, another took advantage of the 24/7 opening hours at their local BP station in Morecambe, Lancashire to make sure their gift was delivered in time for Christmas morning.

Neil Ashworth, CEO of CollectPlus, said: “The late collection and early returns times we’ve seen over the last few days are yet another example of how consumers are increasingly making the most of being able to choose when and where they want to take receipt of their online Christmas purchases – and then return them if necessary.

“The early return on Christmas morning is perhaps a sign that people are already sending back unwanted gifts before heading back to their favourite online stores for the January sales which are now in full swing. We believe the trend for customers returning unwanted items in large numbers post-Christmas will continue, and peak during this New Year sale period, and through to the end of January.”

The IMRG and consultants Capgemini confirmed online sales reached a record £10.1bn this December. However with customers increasingly demanding greater levels of convenience and flexibility when it comes to the delivery of their online purchases, giving them the ability to collect or return these at a time and from a place that suits them has become increasingly important for many UK retailers.

CollectPlus, the first company to offer a nationwide Click and Collect service from local convenience stores, garages and supermarkets across the UK, has over 5,500 parcel stores in its network, nearly all of which are open early ‘til late, seven days a week. This enables customers of brands including Amazon, House of Fraser, River Island, ASOS and The White Company to collect and return their online purchases at their convenience – including over the two day Christmas break when many local stores remain open and operate late opening hours.