UPS to Hire 100,000 to Handle Holiday Rush

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United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) plans to hire 100,000 workers to handle package shipments during the 2018 holiday season. That’s the highest total ever for the company that hired 95,000 seasonal employees last year.

UPS chief strategy and transformation officer Scott Price revealed the planned hiring in an interview Thursday with The Street. Last year’s surge in holiday package delivery cost the company about $125 million.

Rival FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) already has announced that it will hire 55,000 seasonal workers to help get packages delivered this year. The two firms that hired the most seasonal workers last year were Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT). Amazon brought on 120,000 seasonal employees and Target hired 100,000. Neither has yet announced hiring plans for this year.

Price told The Street:

We will put on more capacity this year than we ever have put on before. That capacity will help us in some of the geo areas where there was a disproportionate growth.

He also noted that Atlanta had “a lot of noise last year, so we went and brought on the second-largest facility we have in the world — it’s already come online, already in soft-opening” in the city.

Consumer spending has been strong this year and sentiment has been high, with small business optimism reaching a record high in August. The stars appear to be aligned for a robust holiday shopping season and expectations for e-commerce sales — all of which have to be shipped — are also high.

UPS announced its long-term transformation strategy yesterday, but it was not well-received by investors who generally saw the company’s focus on “last-mile” delivery as too costly, putting more pressure on margins and profits. Investors, who had been hoping for more, also were unimpressed with the company’s reiteration of its $1 billion cost-cutting efforts.

Shares dropped 2.9% on Thursday to close at $119.70 in a 52-week range of $101.45 to $135.53. The stock traded up about 0.4% Friday morning at $120.18. The consensus price target is $128.41.