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Cancellations begin as snow and ice grip UK travel network

20 December 2010 - 12:23 by Graham Miller

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Several major UK retailers have had to cancel orders ahead of the Christmas break as fresh snowfall, freezing temperatures and treacherous road conditions put timely deliveries in peril.

Reports suggest that hundreds if not thousands could be affected across the country and for many it is too late to order online as last Friday was being cited as the final day for safe shopping online if a pre-Christmas delivery is to be had.

It is now believed that four million undelivered parcels, packages and letters are being held by various courier firms as a result of snow-related delays, according to the Daily Mail. Experts are now calling this winter the worst for three decades.

Smyths Toys, an e-commerce firm specialising in products for kids, is just one of the retailers to announce that all online orders have now been cancelled, leaving hundreds of its customers in the lurch.

A spokesperson for the company said that it was a problem with deliveries not actually reaching its warehouses that put it in such a difficult position.

Customers who made orders will have had their money credited back to their bank accounts, but this will be little comfort as they will have to look elsewhere or head to the high street.

Amazon was forced to bring its final deadline for shopping forward by two days to December 18th as a result of the weather, where last year it was possible to order as late as December 20th and still get your gifts in time for Christmas.

The postal service and couriers are working overtime to deal with the backlogs, with thousands of extra hands hired by the Royal Mail to make sure that customers can enjoy a happy Christmas with the gifts that they have bought via safe shopping online.