FedEx Predicts Increase in Holiday Packages

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- FedEx expects that holiday shoppers will be more nice than naughty this year, with shipments rising from 2012.

The company said Wednesday that it expects to carry more than 22 million shipments on the busiest day of the season, which it believes will be Monday, Dec. 2.

FedEx predicts that shipments in the first week of December will rise 13% over last year's peak week, to more than 85 million shipments, driven by online shopping and retailers stocking up on electronics, apparel and other goods.

The expected top day, Dec. 2, will be the first work day for many shoppers after the long Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first time that FedEx expects so-called "Cyber Monday" to be its busiest day of the season.

Last year, the company's heaviest load fell on Dec. 17, when it carried 19.9 million shipments. It also saw spikes of 19.6 million shipments on Cyber Monday and 19 million on Dec. 10.

If FedEx's forecast is correct, the 2013 peak day will be roughly double the volume of its busiest day just six years ago.

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

FedEx, United Parcel Service Co. and others will fight over all those deliveries. This week, FedEx rolled out a new service called One Rate, a flat-rate shipping option that it hopes will boost its share of the holiday-shipping business. This spring, it offered a service that allows residential recipients to schedule deliveries.

Memphis-based FedEx Corp. expects to hire slightly more than the 20,000 seasonal workers that it added last year.

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