Christmas is a time when most us look forward to spending some quality time at home with friends and family, safe in the knowledge that all is well in our little worlds. However, for the workers of parcel delivery company City Link, Christmas was about to be ruined for over 3000 families.

Administration on Christmas Eve

City Link, the parcel delivery company, was told on Christmas Eve that it was to be placed into administration by Ernst & Young. The business that owned City Link, Better Capital, said that it was having to do this as no buyer could be found to take it on.

According to the BBC, City Link had incurred substantial losses, despite Better Capital acquiring the business in April 2013 and has invested a hefty £40m into the company. However, an outdated IT systems and increased competitiveness in the delivery sector seems to have put the final nail in the coffin for City Link.

But for me, there’s something about this which strikes me as very odd.

An odd time to shut down

We’ve just had Christmas, one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. The demand for online shopping has aided the delivery market significantly. In fact online shopping was so strong this year that some delivery companies, like Yodel for example, were struggling quite badly to keep up with demand. If there was an ideal time to be a delivery company, it was the past couple of weeks.

How can a company in a competitive but growing sector close it’s doors at Christmas time? If it had an outdated IT system, then what was that £40m spent on? Surely an investment company sinking that amount of money into a company understands the importance of good IT systems for a delivery company? And with City Link founded in 1969, it’s not as if the company didn’t have any experience in the sector.

What really stinks is the announcement of the closing of the business at Christmas. Better Capital says that the timing of the announcement couldn’t have been avoided. Really? Money and assets couldn’t have been moved to ensure that the business could have made it to the start of 2015? Thousands of redundancies are set to come into place on New Years Eve, surely the worst start to a New Year for many people.

Call my cynical, but this smacks of a poorly run business. IT systems left to rot, priced out of a growing market, cruel Christmas redundancies. I feel incredibly sorry for the those about to lose their jobs at City Link. Non of this is their fault, yet they are the ones about to suffer the most.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, it’s that if City Link workers want to find a job in the same sector, that shouldn’t be too much trouble. As I said earlier in the post, the delivery sector is competitive, but growing. Online shopping has ensured that. It might not be that difficult to find a job at other places like UPS, DPD, Parcel Force etc. I wish the employees the very best heading in to 2015.