The UK carrier industry are experiencing a time of economic uncertainty with Sorted being sold for £66.73 (plus £4m debt) in a reverse takeover deal this year, DespatchBay and Menzies already ceasing to trade, and now Yodel in danger with various reports as to their future.
It’s relatively rare for carriers to go bust entirely – CityLink on Christmas Day in 2014 was a massive shock to the industry and more recently in early Summer 2023 Tuffnells went bust. Sorted and DespatchBay were both consolidators rather than carriers, but Menzies was a carrier you may not know much about but handled deliveries in the Scottish Highlands and Islands for of other carriers including the likes of DPD.
Yodel were reported in the Telegraph this Wednesday as preparing to call in the administrators if a buyer wasn’t found, with reports that a bid by The Delivery Group was withdrawn. The Telegraph said “Although the company has enough cash to pay its delivery drivers the week after next, it is expected to struggle to cover future costs after this.“
Since those reports came out, Yodel CEO Mike Hancox is said to have reassured the industry saying “We would like to reaffirm that Yodel is currently exploring strategic development options following a number of approaches and the appointment last summer of Clearwater International as advisors.”
Mike went on to say “We would like to reassure you that Yodel has not appointed administrators nor are we intending to“, adding that the executive team remain committed to the sustained growth of the business.
Yodel have done pretty well lately with 191 million parcels delivered last year and revenues up 3.4% in the year to December 2023. They’ve also more than doubled parcel volumes through their out of home network seeing a rise in demand for C2C services.
Here at ChannelX we’re fans of Yodel – a couple of decades ago before they fully integrated their HDN network into Yodel they were frankly terrible, but today they are reliable as clockwork with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from a carrier with delivery notifications and time slots you can rely on and tracking that ensures you can rely on successful deliveries taking place.
Over the years Yodel have done a ton of work and it’s paid off, despite reports from some bodies such as Citizens Advice panning them. With a TrustPilot rating of 4.1, they’re a little behind DPD (4.5) and Evri (4.2) but way ahead of Royal Mail (2.9) and Parcelforce (3.3).
While communications from Yodel are designed to settle nerves, and indeed even if the worst were to happen and Yodel were sold/broken up and sold in parts/ceased to trade, there is plenty of slack in the industry for other carriers to pick up much of their traffic. However, Yodel also specialise in some of the more difficult contracts including delivery for wine clubs, flower bouquet deliveries, and many oversize items and retailers in these fields may find it more challenging to find alternative carriers in a hurry.
There would appear to be no immediate need to panic, but with the current uncertainties as to Yodel’s long term future it’s time to once again assess your carrier mix and ensure that if any carrier were to face challenges that you have back up plans in place and can immediately switch traffic to an alternative.