ATLANTA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 18, 2003–For the second straight year, the calendar has thrown UPS (NYSE: UPS) and a bevy of holiday shoppers and shippers a short holiday season. But with more players on the team, including more than 3,100 newly branded The UPS Store retail locations, UPS is ready to deliver more than 300 million packages during the holidays.
Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 27 this year, leaving just 18 delivery days during that “peak” period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While that’s one day more than 2002, it still means holiday shippers can’t delay too long with their packages. And it also means UPS is taking steps to highlight various options that make the shipping process faster, easier and more efficient.
“Most customers who used to drive across town to pack and ship their gifts can find UPS right around the corner at The UPS Store in their neighborhood,” said Rocky Romanella, vice president, UPS Retail Services. “The 3,100 U.S. locations of The UPS Store not only provide customers holiday convenience, but also lower UPS shipping prices.”
UPS is no stranger to the retail sector. UPS synchronizes the movement of goods to store shelves and homes for major retailers, catalogers and e-tailers such as Best Buy, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Lands’ End and Amazon.com. Additionally, small businesses like Unicycle.com, which nets 40 percent of its annual sales during November and December, count on UPS to conquer the holiday crunch just as large retailers do.
“UPS has been critical to our success since I first began selling unicycles from my basement three years ago,” said John Drummond, the founder of Unicyle.com. “UPS’s technology is as vital to helping us fulfill the surge of orders as the drivers are to delivering them. In fact, it has enabled us to recently start another online business called Banjo.com.”
The 69 million users of the eBay community also will find the holiday load lightened thanks to the collaboration of UPS and eBay. Earlier this year, the two integrated a new suite of shipping tools throughout the eBay marketplace that calculate costs for various UPS and postal services, track UPS shipments, provide transit times and print shipping labels.
And holiday Internet shopping is definitely growing. Consider:
— For the first time ever, more than half of consumers say they plan to shop on the Internet during the holidays, according to Deloitte’s 18th annual consumer survey of holiday retail spending. Fifty-six percent of respondents say they will shop for gifts online – up from 49 percent in 2002.
— Of the top 10 online retailers identified by comScore Media Metrix, a respected source of Internet audience measurement, UPS serves all 10 and is the primary carrier for eight.
— National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales will increase 5.7 percent this year to $217.4 billion. Last year’s growth was 2.2 percent.
The annual dramatic escalation in UPS’s holiday package volume is forecasted to crest on Thursday, Dec. 18. On what is known as Peak Day, UPS expects to deliver approximately 20 million air and ground packages globally, or more than 230 every second. That’s an increase of more than 50 percent over the average daily volume. Peak Day also will see a huge surge in online package tracking requests, ballooning to more than 12 million.
Less than a week later, on Tuesday, Dec. 23, the holiday Peak for the delivery of air packages will occur with a global volume of about 4 million packages, or almost double the normal average.
In addition to its more than 3,100 The UPS Store locations, UPS provides customers an array of options to make the shipping process faster and more efficient. For the do-it-yourself shipper who wants to ship from the comforts of home at any hour, UPS offers an Internet shipping option at UPS.com. This allows consumers to select the service they want, pay by credit card and then print the proper shipping label on a regular piece of paper. Once the package is sealed and the label affixed, the customer can drop the package off at the nearest The UPS Store, hand it over to a UPS driver or schedule a pickup.
As a result of the compressed holiday season, UPS is recommending consumers pay particular attention to the general holiday shipping deadlines:
— UPS Ground, for a coast-to-coast package, ship by Dec. 15. (For specific origin and destination delivery time, visit UPS.com to calculate delivery time.)
— 3-Day Select(R), ship by Dec. 19
— 2nd Day Air(R), ship by Dec. 22
— Next Day Air(R), ship by Dec. 23
UPS will maintain its service guarantees throughout the holidays on UPS Next Day Air(R), 2nd Day Air(R) and 3-Day Select(R) packages. UPS’s network, including commercial and residential ground services, will remain open through Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), fulfilling its Santa-related duties right to the end.
For UPS, the holiday shipping season is the most challenging and invigorating time of the year. Millions are depending on UPS and the company responds with business “magic” that combines experience and scalability.
“Our infrastructure is designed to expand and contract to accommodate fluctuations of volume easily and quickly,” said Cal Darden, UPS’s senior vice president for U.S. operations. “This type of scalability and flexibility enables the company to ramp up operations to meet changes in customer demands, while maintaining UPS’s high levels of service and reliability.”
One major component of scalability is hiring temporary seasonal staff. Seasonal hiring will vary by location, but nationally UPS will hire about 50,000 driver helpers and package sorters. To inquire about available positions, visit UPSjobs.com or call 1-888-WORK-UPS.
Another vivid illustration of UPS’s scalability is UPS’s delivery fleet. UPS’s ground delivery fleet of 88,000 package cars, vans and tractors will expand by more than 7,000 vehicles. And UPS Airlines, the ninth largest in North America, adds nearly a dozen large jets to its year-round operating fleet of 600 aircraft to manage volume throughout the season, when more than 1,400 UPS flights take off each day (up from 1,100 flights during normal operations).
In addition, as one of only six airlines in the United States with its own meteorology department, UPS is equipped to anticipate any challenges posed by weather conditions. Within minutes, UPS can implement contingency plans, including routing and operational changes.
From around the corner to more than 200 countries and territories around the world, UPS has been bringing the holidays home for more than 95 years. In the United States, UPS offers convenient access in every neighborhood. To find the nearest UPS location or additional holiday packing and shipping information, visit http://www.UPS.com or http://www.TheUPSStore.com, or call 1-800-PICK-UPS.
Editor’s Note: The UPS Corporate Public Relations team is ready to help with your holiday coverage. For the latest holiday facts and figures, packaging and shipping tips, the local angle or anything else you need to complete your story, contact UPS Corporate Public Relations at (404) 828-7123 or visit http://www.pressroom.ups.com.
Christine McManus, 404-828-7123
Dave Moessner, 314-982-7675