Moody’s Projects the Future of Transaction and Advertising Mail

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In assigning a rating on new debt issued by Harland Clarke to cover the purchase of Valassis, Moody’s made an assessment of a business that is primarily dependent on check printing and mail advertising.   Its comments suggests that Wall Street sees both the transaction and advertising mail businesses as profitable but in a secular decline.  More importantly for holders of bonds due in 2021, Moody’s expects the secular decline in both checks and mail advertising to accelerate towards the end of the decade. Harland Clarke’s B2 Corporate Family Rating reflects Moody’s ongoing concern that the combined business model is subject to secular decline in both its check printing and Valassis’ [...] Read more »

Fastenal Corporation Suspects that USPS Operating Changes Hurt Its Finances

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Last week, Fastenal became the first public corporation to report that changes in service standards for single-piece First Class mail have had a negative impact on its finances.   In reviewing the 2nd quarter’s results, Fastenal’s CFO Daniel Florness explained that the most significant reason for the increase in the corporation’s accounts receivable was changes in how Fastenal receives payment from its mostly small business customers. Now both June of 2012 and June of 2013 ended on a weekend. So the calendar is similar, so my comment about the calendar might sound a little odd. But what we’re — and I don’t know if this is a post office, logistics thing or [...] Read more »

Pitney Bowes Misses Earnings Estimates; Cuts Dividend

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Pitney Bowes has announced earnings of 42¢ per share for the 1st quarter of 2013.  Earnings were 2¢ per share below analyst’s estimates.   In a seperate press release Pitney Bowes declared a dividend of 18.75 cents per share for the Company’s common stock. 13.  The dividend declared is half of what Pitney Bowes had paid over the previous five quarters. In a statement included in the earnings announcement resident and Chief Executive Officer, Marc Lautenbach, commented, “We are taking a number of actions in support of the long-term health and growth of our business. While the results for the quarter were mixed, we are seeing progress in key elements [...] Read more »

Senator Carper Working to Put Postal Reform on President Obama’s Desk As Early As The July 4th Recess

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At Postal Vision 2020, Senator Tom Carper indicated that he hopes to have a Postal reform bill on the President’s desk by the July 4th recess and if not then by the August recess.   He expects to work toward passage of a postal reform bill within this time frame in the Senate through regular orders.  This means he will hold a hearing and accept comments on a public draft of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee drafted bill within the next month.    Then after a short period of reviewing this testimony and comments submitted, the Committee will hold a business meeting to mark-up the bill.   Given [...] Read more »

UPS Expands Customized Delivery Options

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Yesterday, United Parcel Service sent an e-mail to all UPS MyChoice members that announced an additional customized delivery option available to members of UPS MyChoice services.   The upgrade allows recipients to shift parcels sent by the shipper using UPS Surepost or UPS Basic from delivery by a U.S. Postal Service carrier to delivery by United Parcel Service driver.   UPS MyChoice customers can choose to upgrade an individual UPS Surepost or UPS Basic shipment or choose to have all UPS Surepost and UPS Shipments sent to them.   UPS charges $3.50 for each shipment upgraded.  The e-mail which is included below illustrates how the new service will work. The following chart shows [...] Read more »

Congressional Plan for 21st Century Freight Transportation Must Include the Postal Market

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This Wednesday, the 21” Century Freight Transportation Panel of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing on the importance of freight transportation to the U.S. economy.  The Panel will receive testimony on the current operation of the freight network, what challenges impact its performance, and what can be done to improve the efficiency and safety of freight transportation. The Committee will hear from Fred Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation; Wick Moorman, Chairman, President, and CEO of Norfolk Southern Corporation; James Newsome, President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority; Derek Leathers, President of Werner Enterprises; and Edward Wytkind, President, Transportation Trades Department, [...] Read more »

Additional Indicators that Online Shopping is Changing the U.S. Economy

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Two stories today illustrate how e-commerce is changing the U.S. economy. First, there are indications that demand for shipping boxes is rising fast enough to give the manufacturers of containerboard used to make these boxes sufficient market power to both raise  prices and make price increases stick.   Investment Analysts from both Goldman Sachs and Jeffries both released Goldman Sachs both raised their ratings of containboard manufacturers to reflect their belief that the pricing power that these manufacturers now have is sustainable. Second, in its conference call yesterday, Wolverine Woldwide, a manufacturer of a broad range of casual and work shoes and boots stated that nearly 15% of its sales were [...] Read more »

USPS May Not Have Cash to Meet Payroll in October

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In a series of tweets, Scott MacFarlane has reported  that a presentation by Jim O’Brien, VP Distribution and Postal Affairs of Time Inc indicated that the USPS may run out of cash next October.   The presentation was made at a recent “Industry Focus Group. A Postal Service spokesperson confirmed to Mr. MacFarlane that the Federal Government will be responsible for payroll as of that date if the Postal Service runs out of cash and the Postal Service is expected to continue to provide service. US Postal Service tells @macfarlanenews : “possibility the American taxpayer will be on the hook” for postal worker paychecks come October — Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) April [...] Read more »

USPS Delivered a Record Share of FedEx Ground Shipments

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Between December 2012 and February 2013, the U.S. Postal Service delivered a record 35.6% of all FedEx Ground shipments.  The Postal Service delivery was provided as part of the FedEx SmartPost product which experienced a 26.4% growth in shipping volume during FedEx’s 3rd fiscal quarter that ran between December, 2012 and February, 2013. The following chart illustrates the growth in Postal Service delivered shipments as a share of FedEx Ground shipments.     The Postal Service share of FedEx Ground deliveries has steadily grown over the past five years.   The Postal Service’s share of FedEx Ground deliveries in the 3rd quarter of FedEx’s 2013 fiscal year represents a 9.6% increase [...] Read more »

Delivered Retail Sales hit 26.5% in January

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Retail sales delivered to the consumer hit 26.5% of all deliverable retail sales in January 2013.  The proportion of retail sales that are delivered rose from 18.3% nearly 5 years ago and  14% a decade ago.  Current trends, which have been consistent for a number of years project that almost half of all retail sales that can be delivered will be delivered by the end of this decade. Deliverable retail sales is defined a  department store types of merchandise and are sold by retailers selling furniture & home furnishings (442), electronics & appliances (443),   clothing & accessories (448), sporting goods, hobby, book, and music  (451), general merchandise (452), and office [...] Read more »