Tesco and Sainsbury's halt online orders in Scotland

Image caption, Distribution across Scotland has hit a backlog after heavy snows saw days of transport chaos

The country's main supermarkets and online shops have stopped taking orders in Scotland in the run up to Christmas, because of the weather.

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda have halted orders or suspended deliveries, after last week's wintry weather brought the transport network to a standstill.

Many are struggling to cope with a backlog of deliveries, as a result.

Couriers including Parcel Force and Home Delivery Network have also been affected, as well as Boots and M&S.

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for online shopping, with an estimated £6.4bn spent over the festive period.

The Tesco Direct website has stopped taking orders from customers in Scotland, saying it could not guarantee Christmas deliveries, while Sainsbury's suspended deliveries for Scotland.

Tesco said its priority was to deliver goods which had already been ordered. Grocery deliveries are not affected.

Asda Direct warned it was unable to deliver large items, such as furniture, before Christmas, and said it had stopped taking orders for in-store collection in the run up to 25 December.

The online shopping sites Amazon and Firebox are suffering similar problems, with Firebox saying next-day delivery was not currently guaranteed.

Boots has also suspended its next day service, although the chain's store collection and standard home delivery services are still available.

And Marks & Spencer are not accepting any home delivery orders for Scotland, due to a week-long backlog.

A statement on the Tesco Direct website reads: "We apologise for any inconvenience, but unfortunately we are currently unable to take any new orders in Scotland and the Scottish Isles.

"This is due to the adverse weather conditions causing a build-up of orders. However, if you have already placed an order we will do our very best to deliver your items as soon as possible."

Tesco took the decision as the courier company Yodel battled to clear a 14-day backlog of parcels.

Image caption, Online sites, including Amazon, are finding it hard to honour pre-Christmas deliveries

Sainsbury's website said: "We have temporarily suspended Standard Delivery for Scotland and some parts of North-East England."

In a statement on the Parcel Force website over the weekend, the delivery company said it would not be accepting any parcels for delivery in its Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Aberdeen centres, until it was "confident" it could honour Christmas deliveries.

"Whilst we will continue to deliver as many parcels each day as we possibly can, if we accept more parcels for the affected areas it will make recovery from the current position exceedingly difficult," said the company.

Parcel Force said it regretted having to take the "unprecedented decision" not to accept deliveries for its depots in Scotland's main cities.

Home Delivery Network, which serves more than 350 retailers, warned its deliveries would be limited, or made later than normal.

Wine companies Virgin and Laithwaites both said they could not guarantee Scottish deliveries before Christmas, while clothing chain River Island said it was unable to take new orders, while current ones were taking about seven days to two weeks to deliver.

Concerns had been raised that deliveries of international tickets for Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations had been affected by the backlog of mail during the recent bad weather.

Last year fewer than 80 people needed to have their tickets re-issued but organisers said they did not foresee any significant increase in the number this year.

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