Amazon and USPS to Deliver on Sundays

The new partnership could help to shore up the postal service's ailing finances.

Shipping orders go by on a conveyor belt at Amazon's San Bernardino Fulfillment Center Oct. 29, 2013 in San Bernardino, California.
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Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service have begun a new partnership, with the postal service delivering packages from the e-commerce giant seven days a week.

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The businesses are starting the service for members of its Amazon Prime service in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas, but Amazon says in a press release that it plans to bring it to Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix, and other U.S. cities in 2014. Members of Amazon Prime pay an annual fee and receive unlimited two-day shipping.

"If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can order a backpack for your child on Friday and be packing it for them Sunday night," said Dave Clark, Amazon's vice president of worldwide operations and customer service.

The partnership has clear benefits for both parties, particularly as the holiday shopping season approaches. Amazon could potentially lure more customers away from brick-and-mortar stores with the added convenience of seven-day-per-week delivery.

Meanwhile, a postal service beleaguered by financial problems will now benefit from an exclusive relationship with the largest e-commerce retailer. The postal service posted a net loss of $740 million in the quarter ending June 30, making the year-to-date net loss $3.9 billion.

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As a result of those troubles, the new Sunday delivery service comes as the USPS also pushes for a shortened delivery week, under which the service would deliver packages Monday through Saturday but other mail only on weekdays. The postal service has repeatedly asked that Congress pass a comprehensive postal reform package that would include this and other changes, including an end to the requirement that the service prefund retiree health benefits.

Aside from bringing in new revenue, the new Sunday delivery option could also mean future USPS deals with other e-commerce retailers. In a statement touting the new service, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe left the door open to future deals with other retailers.

"As online shopping continues to increase, the Postal Service is very happy to offer shippers like Amazon the option of having packages delivered on Sunday," he said.

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