Courier firm Yodel has suspended collections from distribution hubs after an unprecedented surge in demand following Black Friday.

Yodel executive chairman Dick Stead has written to clients, which include a number of retailers, explaining there will be no collections today or tomorrow from distribution centres and normal service will not resume until Monday.

Stead wrote: “This is not a decision that we have taken lightly but one that we have had to take to protect service levels.”

He added: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday exceeded all analysts’ expectations and in many cases orders for UK retailers were double the previous record level set last year.”

It is understood Yodel works with retailers including Argos, Mamas & Papas, Amazon, Marks & Spencer and Shop Direct.

A Yodel spokeswoman said: “The recent Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other retail promotions have resulted in unexpectedly high parcel volumes across the carrier industry. On these key days we have experienced volumes that were up to 26 per cent over the forecast from our clients.

“We would like to reassure shoppers that there is no suspension to our delivery service. Deliveries will continue throughout this period, and we are working hard to ensure that these are made as soon as possible, however some parcels may be delayed for up to 72 hours.”

Argos deliveries will not be affected by the suspension of Yodel collections, but customers will not be able to return goods via Yodel for two days, according to an Argos spokesman.

However, the Argos spokesman said customers wishing to make returns over the next two days can return items to a local store.

Yodel operates collections from both distribution centres and trailers. Collections from trailers have only been suspended for one day, according to a Yodel spokeswoman.

Customers are venting their frustrations on Twitter about Yodel cancelling collections.

Jenna Turner tweeted: “Received a call from mamas and papas…#yodel have cancelled all collections for two days…WHY?”

Yodel has experienced delivery logjams previously in the run up to Christmas and in 2011 it failed to deliver about 15,000 parcels per day due to higher than expected demand.