Package wars: Postal Service offers next-day Sunday delivery


WASHINGTON (AP) — As consumers demand ever-quicker and convenient package delivery, the U.S. Postal Service wants to boost its business this holiday season by offering what few e-commerce retailers can provide: cheap next-day service with packages delivered Sundays to your home.

Retail giant Walmart says it is considering the Sunday option, which could reshape weekend shopping trips to the mall.

The program, available in 20 major U.S. cities, allows consumers to place online orders with participating retailers before a cutoff time Saturday, the Postal Service said. Postal carriers pick up merchandise from local stores for delivery the following day, similar to the Sunday package deliveries it now handles almost exclusively for online leader Amazon in much of the U.S.

The Postal Service hasn't disclosed which stores may sign onto the new pilot program, launched in advance of retailers' most competitive time of the year.

"It's one of the ideas Walmart is looking at," company spokesman Ravi Jariwala told The Associated Press, citing the big-box chain's recent focus on getting goods to shoppers' front doors quickly. In recent months, Walmart has announced added shipping options to better compete with Amazon, from acquiring a same-day delivery service in New York to testing drop-offs of packages by Uber drivers and Walmart employees.

Best Buy and Target, which recently added speedier holiday shipping options, declined to comment on the program.

The next-day weekend service is part of the Postal Service's aggressive push into the parcel business at a time when its more lucrative first-class mail is declining in the digital age.

With Amazon continuing to raise the bar of "free shipping" conveniences, from one- or two-day package arrivals to keyless in-home delivery via couriers, the financially beleaguered post office is billing itself as the trusted, low-cost carrier already serving every U.S. household.

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