United Parcel Service posted fourth-quarter profit that met expectations as a surge in online shopping just before Christmas led to late deliveries and higher costs, but it forecast a stronger year ahead.
For 2014, UPS (UPS), the biggest U.S. courier company said Thursday it expects earnings rising 11-16 percent over last year. For 2014 UPS expects to earn between $5.05 a share to $5.30 a share.
During the holiday period, UPS said global daily deliveries topped expectations by surpassing 29 million packages on five days and with peak volume exceeding 31 million on December 23.
Chief Executive Scott Davis said the courier company saw "an unprecedented increase in volume, exceeding even our most optimistic plans." %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%He said the increased volume put a strain on the network, causing delays.
The company said earlier in the month it expected diluted earnings of $1.25 a share, well short of the average analyst estimate of $1.43 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Analysts revised their estimates after the company warning. On Thursday, UPS posted net earnings of $1.2 billion, or $1.25 a share, compared with a net loss of $1.7 billion, or $1.83 a share, last year. The latest EPS matched the revised estimates.
Shares of the Atlanta-based company closed at $95.33 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. They were trading at $95.95 before the markets opened Thursday.
17 Tricks Stores Use to Make You Spend More Money
UPS 4Q Profit In Line with Wall Street Estimates
A big, bold "SALE" sign helps get people in the store, where they are likely to buy non-sale items.
Once you enter, there's the shopping cart. This invention was designed in the late 1930s to help customers make larger purchases more easily.
In supermarkets, high margin departments like floral and fresh baked goods are placed near the front door, so you encounter them when your cart is empty and your spirits are high.
Flowers and baked goods also sit near the front of stores because their appealing smell activates your salivary glands, making you more likely to purchase on impulse.
Supermarkets like to hide dairy products and other essentials on the back wall, forcing you to go through the whole store to reach them.
Once customers start walking through a store's maze of aisles, they are conditioned to walk up and down each one without deviating.
Most stores move customers from right to left. This, combined with the fact that America drives on the right, makes people more likely to purchase items on the right-hand side of the aisle.
Anything a store really wants customers to buy is placed at eye level. Particularly favored items are highlighted at the ends of aisles.
There's also kid eye level. This is where stores place toys, games, sugary cereal, candy, and other items a kid will see and beg his parents to buy.
Sample stations and other displays slow you down while exposing you to new products.
Stores also want items to be in easy reach. Research shows that touching items increases the chance of a purchase.
Color affects shoppers, too. People are drawn into stores by warm hues like reds, oranges, and yellows, but once inside cool colors like blues and greens encourage them to spend more.
Hear that music? Studies show that slow music makes people shop leisurely and spend more. Loud music hurries them through the store and doesn't affect sales. Classical music encourages more expensive purchases.
Store size matters, too. In crowded places, people spend less time shopping, make fewer purchases (planned and impulsive), and feel less comfortable .
Stores not only entice you with sales, they also use limited-time offers to increase your sense of urgency in making a purchase.
The most profitable area of the store is the checkout line. Stores bank on customers succumbing to the candy and magazine racks while they wait.
Finally, there is the ubiquitous "valued shopper" card. This card gives you an occasional deal in exchange for your customer loyalty and valuable personal data.