Pandemic-fueled holiday surge stresses UPS network, halting deliveries for some major retailers

If you made your list and checked it twice, you might want to check a third time to be certain your loved ones’ wish lists can be fulfilled on time.

United Parcel Service has placed shipping limits on some of its largest retailers as pandemic conditions combined with holiday-fueled cyber deals are straining delivery capacity.

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“UPS continues to work closely with our largest customers to steer volume to capacity and ensure the UPS network is reliable for all customers,” the company announced in a statement.

Although the delivery behemoth declined to provide a complete list of affected retailers, The Wall Street Journal identified Nike Inc., Gap Inc., L.L. Bean Inc., Hot Topic Inc., Newegg Inc. and Macy’s Inc. as the six retailers UPS drivers nationwide were instructed Monday to stop servicing temporarily due to volume constraints.

An internal message, viewed by the Journal and confirmed by multiple UPS workers across various regions, revealed that “no exceptions” to the policy will be allowed.

“Knowing the unique constraints the industry is facing this peak season, we worked with our carriers early on to collectively build a strategic plan of execution,” Gap stated in a prepared statement. “We have been very satisfied with the level of partnership and commitment we have received from our carrier base, and especially that of UPS, and expect that to continue through the holiday season.”

According to CNN Business, a Nike spokesperson stated: “We expect the majority of these orders to meet estimated delivery dates and are communicating with consumers any changes in delivery.”

The National Retail Federation confirmed that 44% more consumers shopped online only during the five-day stretch, including both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared with the same five-day period one year ago.

In addition, the federation reported that, for the first time, more than 100 million consumers shopped Black Friday online, an 8% increase compared with 2019. Meanwhile, Saturday’s online shoppers increased 17% compared with the same day last year.

CNN Business, citing Adobe Analytics figures, reported that year-over-year Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales increased 22% to $5.1 billion and $9 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, year-over-year Cyber Monday sales increased 15% to $10.8 billion, securing its place as the largest online shopping day in history.

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