Barclay brothers buy DHL parcels unit

SIR David and Sir Frederick Barclay started the year with a major acquisition for their home delivery business.

They snapped up DHL’s parcels business for an undisclosed sum to merge with their Home Delivery Network (HDN). The deal will vastly increase the scale of HDN, doubling its turnover from £300m to £600m.

Briant Gaunt, chief executive of HDN, told City A.M.: “This is a transformational acquisition in a growing market. The growth of e-commerce has transformed our marketplace and we will be able to operate more efficiently.”

It now handles 180m parcels a year and is snapping at the heels of Royal Mail to be the biggest parcel deliverer in the country. The deal gives it a 17 per cent market share to Royal Mail’s 30 per cent.

HDN delivers for internet giants including Amazon, Asos and Tesco Direct.

On Tuesday, Shop Direct said it had enjoyed a 6.3 per cent rise in sales in the run-up to Christmas, most of which was fuelled by a 19 per cent increase in online purchases in the six weeks to 1 January.

Its website attracted more than a million customers a day and at one point sold five dresses a minute.