UPS said its domestic volume during the first two weeks of the holiday peak shipping season had been flat compared to 1999 due to slowing customer shipments. This followed a slowing in domestic volume increases in October and November to 4%, compared to the 5.5% growth rate the first nine months of the year.
Although UPS already had anticipated a slight slowdown in the rate of fourth-quarter growth, yesterday's statement said the unusual slowing in holiday shipments has compounded the situation.
The story is similar at FedEx Corp., which said that its third quarter, which started in December, so far is showing a softening in volumes due to the slowdown of the U.S. economy and the recent severe weather. As a result, U.S. domestic growth rates at FedEx Express and FedEx Ground are expected to be flat or even slightly down for the month.