UPS sees busier, intense holiday shopping season

SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 02: United Parcel Service (UPS) driver Grant Jung moves boxes in his truck as he prepares to make deliveries February 2, 2010 in San Francisco, California. UPS reported a surge in fourth-quarter earnings with a profit of $757 million, or 75 cents a share, compared to $254 million, or 25 cents a share, one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Grant Jung Justin Sullivan

ATLANTA UPS expects this holiday season to be busier than last, thanks to the growing popularity of online shopping. And more intense, thanks to the calendar.

The world's biggest package delivery company said Friday that it foresees peak season daily volume rising 8 percent this year.

UPS, based in Atlanta, predicts that it will pick up more than 34 million packages on the busiest day, Monday, Dec. 16. UPS predicts deliveries will peak at 29 million the next day.

The company plans to hire 55,000 U.S. seasonal employees to work as drivers, helpers, package sorters, loaders and unloaders. That's the same number as last year, but this year's group may feel a lot busier. Besides the increased volume, there are just 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year, making it the most compressed holiday shopping season since 2002.

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) expects that Cyber Monday on Dec. 2 will see a 10 percent increase in pickup volume, surpassing 32 million packages.

UPS' smaller rival FedEx Corp. (FDX) said it expects Dec. 2 to be its busiest day of the holiday season. FedEx expects to carry more than 22 million shipments that day. FedEx expects to hire slightly more than the 20,000 seasonal workers that it added last year.

The National Retail Federation predicts that retail sales in November and December will rise 3.9 percent over last year to $602 million -- $738 per shopper. It expects online sales to rise by 13 percent to 15 percent.

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