By Daniel Hunter

Delivery service Yodel has stopped collecting online orders from retailers as it struggles to cope with huge demand following Black Friday.

Yodel said customers are likely to see a delay of around 72 hours as it makes its way through the backlog caused by the shopping extravaganza at the end of November.

The delivery firm told its clients that there will be no collections from distribution centres on Thursday or Friday, but hopes to return to normal service by Monday.

Yodel executive chairman, Dick Stead, said to clients in a letter that orders on Black Friday and Cyber Monday exceeded expectations, explaining that some retailers had received double the record orders set last year.

Mr Stead wrote: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but one that we have had to take to protect service levels.

"We would like to reassure shoppers that there is no suspension to our delivery service.

"Deliveries will continue throughout this period, and we are working hard to ensure that these are made as soon as possible. However, some parcels may be delayed for up to 72 hours.

"By Monday we expect to resume our normal service. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to our clients and their customers."

Amazon, one of the retailers which uses Yodel, said: "Amazon orders continue to be processed and delivered in the normal time frame. For example, Prime customers can order for next day delivery."

Another Yodel client, Argos, told customers: " We are very sorry and are urgently contacting all affected customers to rearrange their collections.

"In the meantime, unlike other online retailers, customers have the option of returning items at their nearest Argos store. 90% of the UK population lives within seven miles of one of our 734 stores."

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