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UPS 185Ordinarily UPS (UPS) has an on-time delivery rate of 99%, but the final two Christmas shopping days of 2013 were anything but ordinary. An extraordinary number of procrastinators caused a 63% upswing in orders on Dec. 23 and decreased UPS’ on-time delivery rate to 83%. The company even had to admit to customers that it wouldn’t be able to deliver all its packages on time.

The company hired an additional 30,000 temporary employees than planned and delivered more than 31 million packages that day, a record for the company and 13% above its peak day the year before.

The snafu was bad enough that UPS warned shareholders that it would miss its fourth-quarter earnings target when official figures are released on Thursday, Jan. 30. As a result, shares have fallen 8% in a month.

Despite the disappointing end to 2013, UPS remains confident for 2014. Adjusted earnings are expected to increase by 10%-15% compared to 2013, in line with its long-term targets.

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