November 16, 2010 / 5:29 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-UPS sees holiday shipments up 7.5 pct, hiring 50,000

* UPS sees global holiday shipments up 7.5 pct

* Company plans 50,000 seasonal hires

* UPS Airlines to add 350 daily flights during peak week (Adds 2009 comparison, FedEx estimates; updates share price)

NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - United Parcel Service (UPS.N) expects a 7.5 percent rise in U.S. holiday shopping season deliveries and plans to hire about 50,000 seasonal workers to handle the increased volume.

The world’s largest package delivery company expects about 430 million deliveries during its peak season, up from 400 million last year, as consumer spending rises gradually with a slowly improving economy.

Deliveries should reach 24 million worldwide on Dec. 22, matching last year’s busiest day. That volume is 60 percent above normal daily business.

On Monday, the Commerce Department said retail sales in October surpassed forecasts to post the biggest gain in seven months. [ID:nLDE6AE1K1]

Most UPS ground packages are delivered within three days, while UPS air can ship as late as Dec. 23 for delivery on Christmas Eve. UPS Airlines will fly more than 350 added flights in each of the five days leading up to Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

The Atlanta-based company also said it expects more than 44 million online package tracking requests on Dec. 22.

UPS shares are down 1 percent at $67.40 on the New York Stock Exchange at mid-afternoon.

Last week, FedEx Corp (FDX.N) said its holiday shipments likely will rise 11 percent from last year. FedEx SmartPost, which ships packages to the U.S. Postal Service, which in turn delivers to buyers, is expected to drive the volume increase.

An estimated 16 million shipments on Dec. 13 would make it the busiest day in FedEx history.

The second largest U.S. package-delivery company expects to handle more than 223.3 million shipments between the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 25 and Christmas a month later.

Online sales have been driving holiday package volume at both companies, as shoppers buy more from Web-based retailers as well on Internet sites from traditional chain stores. (Reporting by Lynn Adler; Editing by Richard Chang)

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