A last-minute surge in online shopping and bad weather left major retailers such as Amazon (AMZN), Kohl's (KSS) and Wal-Mart (WMT) unable to fulfill guarantees to deliver packages in time for Christmas. IBM estimates that Internet sales jumped 37% on year over the pre-Christmas weekend.
UPS (UPS) was particularly caught out. "The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast," a UPS spokeswoman said. FedEx (FDX) was also affected, although the company said that it wasn't suffering significant delays.
Amazon is refunding shipping charges to affected customers and providing a $20 gift card, while Kohl's will pay the full cost of all goods that arrive late.