Holiday, online sales boost UPS profit

Associated Press / February 3, 2010

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ATLANTA - UPS is seeing more people using cellphones to buy and ship goods over the Internet, a greater number of customers paying for premium services like next-day air, and businesses beefing up operations overseas.

The result: a fourth-quarter profit of $757 million, nearly triple the amount from a year earlier. The only blemish was UPS’s money-losing freight business, which ships larger items such as gym equipment, grand pianos, and automobiles.

The world’s largest shipping company continues to position itself for an economic rebound, albeit a gradual one. UPS will spend less money in 2010 than it has historically on things like equipment, airplanes, and trucks. It also is cutting jobs - although UPS said yesterday it will reinstate pay raises for managers.

The company issued a forecast for 2010 earnings that’s consistent with Wall Street expectations.

UPS, based in Atlanta, pinned its strong performance in the final three months of 2009 on a good holiday shipping season and solid international business. Significant growth in online retail sales gave a bump to domestic results.