UPS limits some large retailers to pace itself as pandemic shopping surge tests capacity

United Parcel Service (UPS) is limiting shipping capacity for some large retailers as online shopping balloons in tandem with the coronavirus pandemic.

The shipping giant informed its drivers on Cyber Monday to stop picking up from six large retailers – Nike, Gap, L.L. Bean, Hot Topic, Newegg and Macy’s – as the volume of orders threatened to exceed capacity, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an internal email sent to drivers across the U.S.



a truck parked on the side of a road: A UPS driver prepares to deliver packages.


© Patrick Semansky
A UPS driver prepares to deliver packages.

A UPS driver prepares to deliver packages. (Patrick Semansky /)

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The caps will run throughout the holiday season, reported CNN.

It comes amid a 44% jump in online shopping in just one five-day span including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the National Retail Federation.

Both those big shopping days saw record online spending, while customers for the most part eschewed brick-and-mortar outlets. And consumers are also stocking up with regular household goods as they prepare to hunker down for a pandemic winter without going out to the store, the Journal said.

“UPS continues to work closely with our largest customers to steer volume to capacity and ensure the UPS network is reliable for all customers,” UPS said in a statement cited by MassLive. “This collaboration includes specific capacity allocations last weekend and throughout the holiday season. We’ve worked with our large retail customers to ensure they are aware of how much capacity is available to them.”

“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 told CNN. “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.”

UPS and FedEx were already scrambling to obtain enough vans for deliveries, Bloomberg reported Monday. While it wasn’t hampering delivery times, it was driving up costs, Bloomberg said.

UPS has grown its number of facilities by 20, and obtained 14 additional aircraft during this peak season, CNN said, plus expanded weekend operations and ground delivery speed.

The restrictions are temporary and designed so that UPS can pace itself without having merchandise get backed up and clog the system, CNBC reported.

“We’ve worked with our large retail customers to ensure they are aware of how much capacity is available to them,” UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara told CNBC on Wednesday, adding that if demand surpasses the allocations, the company will “work with our larger customers to ensure the volume gets picked up and delivered as more capacity becomes available in our network.”

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$15K fine for NYC synagogue with 7,000 person capacity after massive secret wedding

A Brooklyn synagogue was fined $15,000 for violating coronavirus restrictions after a video surfaced showing people standing shoulder-to-shoulder and apparently without masks at a massive, secret Hasidic wedding.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the fine at a news conference on Tuesday and condemned the large event as “unacceptable.”

The wedding was held on Nov. 8 at Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood, according to the New York Post, which published a video that showed the crowd jumping, dancing and singing during the event. The video does not show people wearing masks.

Calls to the synagogue on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Worshipers gather outside Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in Brooklyn, N.Y. , on Oct. 19, 2020.John Lamparski / NurPhoto via Getty Images file

The synagogue holds up a maximum capacity of 7,000 people, although it’s unclear exactly how many were at the wedding.

The mayor said Tuesday that they are still trying to determine the final number of attendees.

“What we do know is unquestionably it was too many people,” he said. “Whatever that number — whether it was hundreds, thousands — it was too many people. And it appears that there was a very conscious effort to conceal what was going on. And that’s what makes it even more unacceptable.”

Organizers kept details of the wedding planning a secret as to not draw attention, according to The New York Times, citing the weekly Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt. Guests were told about the upcoming nuptials through word of mouth and no posters or notices about the wedding were left on the synagogue walls, the Times reported.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a wedding was stopped at the synagogue before and if they kept this one a secret to avoid that happening again “that would be really shocking.”

“It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York,” Cuomo said.

De Blasio said that in addition to the fine a cease and desist letter was placed on the building, and if they are found to be in violation of restrictions again, the synagogue would be shut down permanently.

“We don’t want to see that happen to anyone, but we need to be very, very clear that if folks are doing something dangerous we can’t allow it to happen,” the mayor said.

The wedding was held as New York, and every other state across the country, grapples with a rise Covid-19 cases. In an update Cuomo posted on Wednesday, New York reported 6,265 positive cases and 41 deaths.

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Gators Announce Capacity, Safety Info For Men’s, Women’s Basketball

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continuing to interrupt everyday lives and the sporting world as a whole, the Florida Gators basketball attendance for both the men’s and women’s team will look a lot different this 2020-21 season.

Announced on Tuesday, the Gators will play host to just 2,200 of the typical capacity of 10,133 fans. This was “a number arrived at in consultation with UF Health officials. The Gators will also follow COVID-19 safety protocols established by the SEC Medical Guidance Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the school said in its press release.

As we’ve seen throughout the fall, the Gators, along with other programs around the country, have seen a loss of fan attendance with the Florida football team at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium allowing a maximum of just 17,000 fans to attend games. The basketball teams at O’Connell Center will be no different.

There will also be strict guidelines set in place, much like for football, all fans will be required to wear face coverings – both the nose and mouth – throughout the duration of the game. “Failure to comply with this important health guideline could result in loss of ticket privileges.”

The arena will include signage and other additions such as additional hand sanitizer stations that will reinforce safety measures to limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tickets for the games this season will be handled completely digitally and the university has asked for fans to pre-load their tickets on their Apple Wallets or Google Pay apps prior to arriving at the arena. All seating will be handled in pods of two and four, and single-game tickets for the Men’s team will go on sale at a later date. All Women’s team tickets are single-game and are already on sale.  

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Limited capacity, push for online and local shopping among Black Friday changes in Ann Arbor area

ANN ARBOR, MI – An annual event of savings on electronics, clothing and household items commonly known as Black Friday will continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But like most everything this year, it will be a little different.

Masses traditionally race to line up at major retailers like Best Buy, Walmart and shopping malls for great deals and cost savings on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. However, the pandemic and spiking cases across Michigan have led to state-ordered restrictions on gatherings and guidelines for shoppers.

But, no matter if you like shopping at big-box stores, shopping malls or in downtowns — or even if you’re preferring online options this year due to coronavirus — the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas have something for you.

Local businesses are especially urging shoppers to support them this season.

Ypsilanti is offering free downtown parking through Thanksgiving weekend, along with 15-minute designated spaces for pickup orders at restaurants and stores, said Bonnie Wessler, public services project manager. Ypsilanti’s Downtown Development Authority also has an incentive program.

Customers shopping at select local businesses can scan a QR code and be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift card to any DDA business, said Christopher Jacobs, DDA director.

“We will be giving out 25 of these $50 gift cards over the next several weeks through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday shopping seasons,” Jacobs said.

Mark Teachout, who opened Wax Bar in August in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town, is having a “Black Friday Record Store Day.

“I will also be having some specials on the records and to-go cocktails for that day,” Teachout said. “I’ll be selling turntables for people, with the resurgence of the younger generation listening to records now. We’ll be running specials. It’s definitely a good place to come and get gifts.”

Teachout’s business started off strong, he said, until COVID-19 case spikes led to more business restrictions and less activity, which is why he urges the people to think of their local shops before major retailers this holiday season.

“People that live in the community can generally, within a minute or so, can get to all your businesses,” Teachout said. “Ypsilanti is unique that it’s all local businesses. You’re putting money directly in the hands of people who are struggling to pay their mortgages and keep their businesses open to feed their kids.”

Ann Arbor organizations have compiled the Show Your Love guide, which encourages shoppers to support small businesses in Ann Arbor by offering a list of places open for the season. Downtown shopping will continue for Midnight Madness in December, when stores will stay open late and offer discounts during the first three Fridays.

“Everyone has a favorite Downtown Ann Arbor memory, whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day at Conor O’Neill’s or Ashley’s, or walking around Kerrytown Shops and stopping at Zingerman’s for lunch,” Frances Todoro director of the State Street District, said in a statement. “We want to keep the nostalgic charm of Ann Arbor thriving.”

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Sally Beauty (SBH) Adds BOPIS to Boost Omni-Channel Capacity

Consumers growing inclination toward online shopping is encouraging retailers across the board to boost their digital offerings. Online shopping, owing to its convenience and reliability, is being widely preferred amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Well, Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. SBH has also been ramping up its omni-channel capabilities to tap the boom in the digital realm. Progressing on these lines, the company unveiled the countrywide launch of the Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) service.

Let’s take a closer look.

Digital is the Way to Go

Sally Beauty’s BOPIS service is expected to establish a connection between in-store and online shopping experiences. The BOPIS facility will help customers reserve products online and pick them up from stores. Apart from this, the company’s omni-channel services include curbside pick-up, e-commerce ship-from-store capabilities and mobile app ordering.

Speaking of mobile app capabilities, Sally Beauty continues to meet consumers evolving digital shopping needs through its revolutionary ColorView Technology. The ColorView feature enables customers to virtually try on a number of products, before they actually purchase it. Markedly, the company is making use of its digital channel for providing expert solutions to customers who color their hair home. The ColorView feature is available at select Sally Beauty stores and on its mobile app. Notably, the company’s mobile app has more than 1.3 million members.

Apart from this, the company recently launched the DIY University by Sally Beauty, an educational initiative to meet the needs of do-it-yourself (DIY) customers. Through this initiative, the company offers expertise on hair color, hair care and nail routines carried out by DIY customers at home. We note that the company is undertaking prudent efforts to offer enhanced digital experiences for its DIY customer base.

Clearly, Sally Beauty’s endeavors indicate that it is resorting to every measure to enhance its digital strength and boost online sales. Markedly, the company witnessed significant e-commerce growth during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Going ahead, the company plans to re-platform the Beauty Systems Group’s digital experience by adding more fulfillment options as well as providing more service for pro customers. It has also been augmenting online assortments, while also improving credit facilities on its e-commerce site.

Wrapping Up

In addition to upgrading digital offerings, the company has been focusing on enhancing strength in areas such as merchandising, BSG store operations, marketing and supply chain. It has been progressing well with cost-curtailment efforts, by focusing on reducing promotional expenditures.

We expect such well-chalked efforts to help uplift the company’s performance in the forthcoming periods. This Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company’s shares have lost 12.2% in the past three months compared with the industry’s growth of 3.9%.

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