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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

Ashford delivering for free during holiday squeeze

While some Internet companies are already hinting that they won't be able to ship goods in time for Christmas, the luxury goods retailer is promising to deliver on every order it receives up until Dec. 23.

While some Internet companies are already hinting they won't be able to ship goods in time for Christmas, Ashford.com is promising to deliver on every order it receives up until Dec. 23.

The online luxury goods retailer will announce tomorrow that customers have until 5 p.m. on Dec. 23 to receive merchandise by Christmas. The Houston-based upstart is offering free, overnight delivery until Dec. 31.

Ashford spokeswoman Wendy McCarthy said that because luxury goods manufacturers balk at product discounts, Ashford has had to become inventive to entice customers.

"One of the ways we can [provide value to our customers] is to offer promotions such as free delivery," McCarthy said.

Ashford's offer comes as many other online retailers struggle to meet the demands of the shopping season. This week, Wal-Mart's Web store and Toysrus.com posted disclaimers on their Web sites telling customers they can't promise items ordered now will be delivered in time for Christmas.

Customers of Amazon.com, Target.com, Macys.com and Buy.com must pay for second-day express shipping if they want to receive their packages before Christmas.

Analysts have long predicted this season to be a "make-or-break" time for Internet retail sites, warning online stores to avoid poor service practices or risk losing customers in the New Year.