The US Postal Service wants to charge higher fees for domestic shipping, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The changes would go into effect from October 8 and end on December 27, according to the report. The move is meant to help offset increased costs incurred during the pandemic and ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The US Postal Service says it plans to charge higher fees for domestic shipping ahead of the holiday season to help offset increased costs incurred during the pandemic and for the upcoming holiday shopping season, The Wall Street Journal reported. A USPS spokesperson told The Journal it will be the first time the agency will have established surcharges during the holiday season. The fees would go into effect on October 8 and end December 27, according to the report, and would range from 24 cents to $1.50 on some USPS package services, but won't apply to regular mail or international shipments. It's not immediately clear whether businesses will pass the higher fees on to customers by charging higher prices for shipping. An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that the company won't be providing comment on how they plan to handle the surcharges. Other shipping companies like FedEx and UPS have already implemented higher surcharges in recent months, The Journal reported. The US Postal Service is a government agency funded by the revenue it earns from stamps and other products and services, not taxpayer dollars. The agency reported losing $2.2 billion in the second quarter of this year. Business Insider previously reported, that the agency saw an accelerated reduction in first-class mail volume, which added to financial trouble that stemmed from 2006 legislation that required the postal service to fund 75 years of employee pensions and health benefits in advance. The postal service currently has $160 billion in debt due to those obligations, The Washington Post reported. President Donald Trump has also opposed measures to help USPS. The Washington Post reported in April that Trump said he would not sign the CARES Act stimulus package into law if it included a bailout for the postal service. Trump's position toward the postal service is seen as an overall attempt to hamstring the agency ahead of the November presidential election.SEE ALSO: What you need to know about US Postal Service's funding crisis, and how it could impact your vote in the November election Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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Facing Congressional investigation, Postmaster General DeJoy hires a consulting and PR firm with deep Trump administration ties
Summary List Placement US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy hired a consulting and PR firm with deep...Summary List Placement US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy hired a consulting and PR firm with deep ties to the Trump administration as he faces allegations that he violated campaign fundraising laws as a private businessman and Republican fundraiser, Business Insider has learned. Since his nomination to lead the US Postal Service as Postmaster General was announced in May, DeJoy has been embroiled in political controversies regarding the role USPS will play in the coming election and his financial interests as a private businessman who invested in companies that compete directly with USPS. On September 6, The Washington Post reported claims that employees of DeJoy's former shipping company, North Carolina's New Breed Logistics, had been pressured to donate to Republican candidates and compensated with bonuses, in violation of state and federal law. Two days later, Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that she would investigate the report. A Committee spokeswoman did not provide an update on the status of that investigation. Spokesman Edward McFadden said the PR and consulting firm, DC-based Patomak Global Partners, now handles all queries regarding DeJoy's personal business. Those could involve the Washington Post article and DeJoy's multimillion-dollar holdings in USPS competitors like UPS and XPO Logistics, which acquired New Breed in 2014. DeJoy previously used North Carolina-based PR firm RLF Communications on matters from the fundraising allegations to Democrats' claims that DeJoy's appointment was a reward for raising money for Trump. RLF CEO Monty Hagler declined to say if he still represents DeJoy in any capacity and referred further queries to Patomak. Patomak's founder is an advisor to President Trump who specializes in financial deregulation The Wall Street Journal describes Patomak Global Partners as a "behind-the-scenes consulting business" founded by Paul Atkins, a former attorney and regulatory expert appointed to the SEC by George W. Bush in 2002. It specializes in helping businesses navigate and minimize government regulations. After the 2016 election, Trump named Atkins, who has reportedly criticized labor unions, LGBTQ rights groups, and others for encouraging shareholder activism, to a key role on his transition team overseeing regulatory agencies as the incoming administration looked to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Atkins later joined Trump's business advisory forum along with the CEOs of companies like Disney, Blackrock, and Walmart and continued to speak on behalf of the administration as a top advisor advocating for financial deregulation. Patomak is not a registered lobbying firm so it does not have to disclose its clients, but they reportedly include government entities like the US Chamber of Commerce as well as private equity, investment, and Chinese accounting firms seeking assistance in disputes with US government regulators. As DeJoy battles personal controversy, PR giant Weber Shandwick works to counter messaging efforts from the White House A USPS spokesman said Patomak doesn't do work related to DeJoy's duties as Postmaster General and that USPS refers all queries about his business dealings to his personal representatives. The USPS's PR agency of record is IPG's Weber Shandwick, which said it doesn't represent any USPS employees, including DeJoy. CNN reported that Weber is also handling crisis communications to counter the White House's own anti-election-mail messaging and promote the USPS, whose board is Trump-appointed and which is run by DeJoy, a Trump donor, after he testified to Congress that he took actions that slowed mail delivery. It's unclear exactly what Weber does for the USPS because the USPS wouldn't release its unredacted $4 million contract in response to a Business Insider FOIA request. It has, however, promoted a PSA-style ad campaign promoting voting as safe. The USPS rejected an appeal by Business Insider to release the full contract, arguing that the redactions were the product of contract negotiations between USPS and Weber Shandwick and should not be disclosed "under good business practice" because they would weaken USPS' ability to negotiate future deals with other vendors. Got more information about this story or another ad industry tip? Contact Patrick Coffee on Signal at (347) 563-7289, email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter DM @PatrickCoffee. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.SEE ALSO: The top advertising accounts agencies are watching, from Visa to T-Mobile, as reviews heat up again Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
Target, Kohl's, and Nordstrom are rolling out holiday deals before Thanksgiving, killing the shopping season as we know it
For many retailers, the holiday shopping season will begin well before Thanksgiving this year. Retailers want...For many retailers, the holiday shopping season will begin well before Thanksgiving this year. Retailers want to avoid crowds and large order volumes that could lead to delays. Complicating matters, UPS, FedEx, and the US Postal Service have all announced surcharges on holiday shipping that will go into effect later this year. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. This year, shoppers might start to see holiday deals roll out alongside leftover Halloween candy. A growing number of retailers have said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, they will shift the timing of their holiday promotions to avoid the usual rush in November and December. Target recently said that it would close its stores on Thanksgiving and start rolling out its holiday deals in October. During the company's earnings call on August 19, CEO Brian Cornell said Target would have to "stay nimble" to adjust to a "very different holiday season." "We're going to put a big premium on ease and convenience, delivering great value, but will emphasize safety. And we'll also make sure that our guests knows that those top items and that great value is going to be available throughout the season," Cornell said, emphasizing that the store's same-day fulfillment options would give shoppers flexibility on the timing of their shopping. Black Friday as a shopping holiday has been declining in importance over the last several years as spending continues to move online and discounts become more prevalent year-round. Still, beginning holiday deals in October represents a big shift to a seasonal schedule that usually sees retailers double down on the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A number of retailers, including Walmart and Best Buy, have joined Target in saying they would keep stores closed on Thanksgiving. Nordstrom said in its own earnings call on Tuesday that while it would likely stop short of decorating stores for Christmas before Thanksgiving, it would make gifts available earlier in the fall than usual. "I think it's pretty clear that there's an opportunity for us to sell gifts prior to Thanksgiving," Pete Nordstrom, president and chief brand officer at Nordstrom, said during the call. The changes aren't just about physical stores, though. Shipping volumes have been unusually high as consumers opt to shop online and largely stay home amid the ongoing pandemic. Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works parent L Brands similarly said in earnings that it would spread its holiday promotions over a longer period of time rather than concentrate them in the fourth quarter, when it typically sees the "majority" of its annual sales and profits due to gift-buying. The company said it would do so because of "traffic constraints imposed by social distancing protocols in stores and capacity restraints in our direct channel distribution centers," adding that it had a "very cautious outlook about our ability to manage our typical holiday volumes." Complicating matters, UPS, FedEx, and the US Postal Service have all announced surcharges on holiday shipping that will go into effect later this year. Spreading deals out over a larger period of time could help retailers better manage the impact of those surcharges. In Kohl's earnings call, CFO Jill Timm referred to the surcharges as a "headwind" and said the company is working through alternatives to avoid them. Kohl's is also looking to get holiday shopping going in October. The pandemic has disrupted the usual retail calendar in more ways than one. The back-to-school shopping season, for example, doesn't seem to have provided the sales surge that certain retailers usually see, as distance learning has continued for many students across the country. Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz told CNBC that she expects both back-to-school and holiday shopping to stretch on for longer than usual. She called the trend a "flattening of the curve." "Maybe the peak [around] Black Friday isn't as big, but there is still a lot of opportunity in December to do a lot of business," Horowitz told CNBC. SEE ALSO: Victoria's Secret parent L Brands warns it might not be able to handle the holiday rush, as retailers plan for a shopping season unlike any other Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
A United States Postal Service spokesperson told NBC News that the service would pause its plans...A United States Postal Service spokesperson told NBC News that the service would pause its plans to remove any blue collection boxes before the election. Some images and reports of the blue boxes being removed from the street sparked concerns over whether voters could secure their mail-in ballots for the November election. On Friday, The Washington Post reported that amid cost-cutting measures interrupting service, USPS officials warned 46 states and Washington, DC, that they may not be able to deliver all ballots in time for the election. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A United States Postal Service spokesperson said officials will not "be removing any boxes" before the election, as concerns over delayed mail delivery potentially jeopardize delivering ballots in time for November. Since taking over the role in June, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has imposed a number of cost-cutting measures across the system, including eliminating overtime and late dispatch hours. These measures have been reported to cause compounding delays in mail delivery, raising concerns for voters who fear their ballots may too delayed to be counted for the upcoming presidential election. USPS spokesperson Rod Spurgeon told NBC News on Friday that the agency would hold off until the election, when officials will reevaluate operations. Spurgeon's reassurance came after several posts on social media said mailboxes were being removed by trucks. They’re legit taking the mailboxes off the street. Cheating 101. pic.twitter.com/hkXcV5vtBH — Isaac Hayes III (@IsaacHayes3) August 14, 2020 More mailboxes being taken off the streets in Oregon.... pic.twitter.com/07JHqbptEr — Georgiana Steele-Wal (@georgeegirl) August 13, 2020 Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden balked at the reports of the service hauling away collection boxes, saying on Friday photos and reports of removals out of Oregon were "bizarre." On Friday, The Washington Post reported that USPS notified 46 states and Washington DC that they may not be able to fully deliver all ballots via mail in time for the November election. Business Insider's Grace Panetta reported that voters should request ballots as soon as possible. Amid concerns for tardy ballots, President Donald Trump said earlier this week he would not provide additional funding for the postal service, but later said he would sign a bill that included emergency funds for the service. Concerns for votes and delayed mail provoked at least one group to organize dozens of demonstrators outside DeJoy's Washington, DC, home on Saturday.SEE ALSO: What you need to know about US Postal Service's funding crisis, and how it could impact your vote in the November election Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly