Eight days left until Christmas and the gift giving season is getting down to the wire. For those of you who did your shopping online this season, the odds are high that those mail-ordered gifts are working their way through shipping facilities today.
More than eleven million packages are going to be sorted and pass through FedEx terminals today. And 14.5 million items will do the same at DHL while a billion pieces of mail will go through Postal Service offices. For the majority of delivery companies, today is the peak shipping day of the year.
I'm on my way to a FedEx facility today to find out how healthy these arteries of commerce are this season. What can shipping levels tell us about how healthy the retail market is and what that means for the overall economy? So far it sounds like an individual company story. FedEx projects to break a company record with today's 11.3 million packages.
Later this week (December 19th), UPS reportedly is expecting less than one percent growth from last year's busiest day with 22 million packages processed. This would mark the smallest growth prediction in four years. We'll be on the ground at FedEx and will try to get you all the real story.
On Thursday, FedEx reports earnings. Last quarter the company lowered its 2Q 08 EPS guidance down to $1.45-1.55 due to higher fuel costs and weak freight demand. Can the growing online retail market (TNS Retail Forward estimates +18 percent year-over-year growth) save the shippers this season?
Update: One big positive for shipping companies is the increase in online shopping. According to the CNBC Wealth in America survey, 22 percent of shoppers have done their shopping online. That FAR outpaces chain stores (11 percent) and closely tracks the 27 percent of shoppers who buy at Department Stores. Another boost for UPS, Fedex and DHL is the 7 percent of buyers who shop via cataloge.
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