By Marcus Leach

Century Logistics has urged online retailers to ensure storage and distribution operations are prepared for ‘Cyber Monday’ - the busiest day of the year for online sales.

Online retailer specialist Amazon has predicted that online sales will peak on Monday 5 December this year, with the highest volume of customer orders expected to be placed at 9pm.

In recent years, the first Monday in December has been Amazon.co.uk's busiest day with orders for over 2.3 million items being placed on Monday 6 December last year.

Century Logistics, which offers specialist distribution services to online retailers, has urged e-tailers to make sure their distribution networks are able to cope with the expected huge surge in demand.

“Every year, the number of people shopping for Christmas presents via the internet increases," Century Logistics Managing Director Stephen Basey-Fisher said.

“Delays to online orders are particularly unacceptable at this time of year because failure to deliver on time means that someone could go without a Christmas present.

“Online retailers need to be prepared for this surge in demand by ensuring they have flexible warehouse capacity to enable them to hold necessary stock levels in the run up to this period and make sure they have access to the delivery capacity they need as it becomes particularly strained at this time of year.

“The Christmas rush is an excellent opportunity for companies to increase sales but they must make sure they operate a supply chain that can meet that demand.

“We’ve seen through our partnership with soap producer ‘Just-a-Soap’ how an online company can grow sales if it works with a trusted logistics partner that has access to flexible warehousing to increase stock storage when demand surges — such as during the Christmas rush.”

Shopping comparison website Kelkoo predicts that overall, UK shoppers will spend one fifth (19.4%) of their Christmas budget online totalling £13.4bn.

Total online spending will increase by 16.3% compared with 2010, it added.

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