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UPS, FedEx See Brighter Holidays

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Shippers hopeful in wake of grim retail forecast.

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In a sea of blue economic projections about holiday retail spending, there's one beacon of hope. The two big shipping companies are forecasting increases in their holiday deliveries.
Atlanta-based UPS Inc. (UPS) today projected it will deliver roughly 22 million small packages on its busiest day, which it pegs will be Dec. 21. That's about a 40% increase over a typical day's volume. Last year things were so bleak, UPS didn't even bother to make a best-day projection.

What's more, UPS expects to hire 50,000 seasonal workers to help with extra volume this holiday season, according to the Associated Press. For the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas, it expects to deliver roughly 400 million packages worldwide.
Memphis-based FedEx Corp. (FDX) last week forecast a peak day of Dec. 14, when it expects to ship 13 million packages. This represents an 8% increase from the FedEx peak of 12 million last year.

Digital readers are expected to be a big holiday item with Amazon (AMZN) offering the Kindle and Barnes & Noble (BKS), unveiling its new competitor, the Nook.

If you're planning to send any gifts from RedEnvelope, Williams-Sonoma (WSM), or Neiman Marcus, Dec. 17 is the last day to guarantee delivery before Christmas through FedEx Ground.

Dec. 23 is the last day to ship by way of the FedEx Express service.

The National Retail Federation projects overall holiday retail sales will decline 1% this year to $437.6 billion.

Copyright 2009 Minyanville. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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