Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

UPS to U.S. consumer: relax, have an app!

February 2, 2010

UPS/UPS expects healthy profits in 2010, no thanks to the U.S. consumer the company is trying to entice with iPhone and BlackBerry applications.

Announced in November and December, the free applications enable users to create and track shipments, calculate rates and delivery times and find the nearest UPS location.

“People can browse the web on their phone as easy as on their home computer, so that’ll make it easier and easier to shop for holiday presents and birthday gifts,” Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn told Reuters.

Online shipping is a sweet spot for both UPS and rival FedEx Corp, both considered economic bellwethers as they handle such a huge chunk of the world’s shipping. But it will be a whole lot sweeter when the U.S. economy catches up with the rest of the world and the U.S. consumer relaxes and starts to spend again. FedEx has iPhone and BlackBerry applications as well.

In the fourth quarter results it reported today, for example, UPS announced a 19 improvement in operating profit in its international segment compared with a drop in domestic operating profit of almost the same size.

“It’s easier than ever for them to shop now,” Kuehn said. “Whether they have enough money to shop, that’s another question.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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