Waitrose is to pay compensation to customers after an IT problem forced the grocer to cancel 400 orders just days before Christmas.

Waitrose cancelled 200 orders yesterday and a further 200 today after an unnamed “technical issue” hit its operations, The Telegraph reported.

The move comes as shoppers swarm for online grocery delivery slots to receive their annual bulky festive food shop to their door. Waitrose said last week it plans to deliver 60% more orders this year than last.

The grocer said the majority of its orders yesterday were delivered normally and orders are now being processed in the normal manner.

Waitrose said: “Unfortunately due to a technical issue we were unable to pick orders yesterday for some of our online customers.

“Our branches worked hard to get as many orders as they could out to affected customers and we have offered additional slots this week and compensation for customers who did not receive their orders.

“We’re very sorry for the inconvenience to our customers and have contacted all those affected to apologise. Orders are now being processed as normal.”

Waitrose has been ramping up its multichannel offer as speculation over the potential end of its partnership with online grocer Ocado mounts.