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FedEx predicts big shipping season

FedEx expects to handle 280 million shipments between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

FedEx expects to handle 280 million shipments between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

NEW YORK — FedEx expects to ship a record number of packages during the holidays, thanks to shoppers’ growing fondness for buying online.

The world’s second-largest package delivery company expects to handle 280 million shipments between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up 13 percent from the same stretch last year.

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The forecast, released Monday, comes against a background of lackluster growth in the global economy. FedEx has warned the economy is stalling and expects conditions to get worse next year. It’s making big cuts in the businesses that have been the hardest hit.

But the number of shipments FedEx handles at the holidays has climbed steadily along with the growth of Internet purchases. The volume of packages it handles on its busiest day, which varies according to Christmas shipping deadlines, has nearly doubled since 2005.

On FedEx’s busiest day this year, projected to be Dec. 10, it forecasts 19 million packages will move through its network, up 10 percent from 2011. That’s in line with the increase FedEx has seen in years with normal growth rates, noted Deutsche Bank analyst Justin Yagerman. ­FedEx’s holiday shipment growth has ranged from 4.3 percent to 18.3 percent since 2006.

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