Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
UPS Inc. said an unexpected surge of last-minute Internet gift orders during a compressed peak holiday season strained its delivery system, leading to fourth-quarter earnings of about $1.25 per share, or 18 cents below Wall Street estimates.
“U.S. results were negatively impacted by the challenges of the compressed peak season coupled with an unprecedented level of online shopping that included a surge of last-minute orders,” the UPS statement said, also citing bad weather last month that hampered operations.
The shipping surge during a holiday season that was six shopping days shorter than 2012 created new shipping patterns that led to more than 31 million deliveries Dec. 23. That was the peak delivery day, with volume 7.5% higher than planned. The peak day came six days later than the company anticipated and produced volume 13% above the top delivery day the year before.