Amazon ties up with US postal service for Sunday delivery

Online retail giant Amazon is set to give a tough time to rivals this holiday season and beyond under a new deal with the US Postal Service for delivery of packages on Sundays.

Starting this week, the postal service would deliver Amazon packages on Sundays to homes of shoppers in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas at no extra charge. It has plans to roll out next year, Sunday delivery to Dallas, New Orleans, Phoenix and other cities.

Getting packages to shoppers on Sundays has normally been an expensive proposition for shoppers. According to FedEx Corp, Sunday was not a regular delivery day, though limited options were available, while a spokeswoman for United Parcel Service said, the service did not deliver on Sundays.

According to commentators, the deal would come as a boon for the postal service, as it struggles with mounting financial losses and seeks to limit general letter mail delivery to five days a week.

Los Angeles Times quoted spokeswoman Sue Brennan as saying that letter mail volume was declining "so extremely," yet package volume was "increasing in double-digit percentages."

According to commentators, the postal service's small Sunday package delivery business could be considerably boosted with the arrangement for two of the retailer's larger markets, Los Angeles and New York.

The service started this weekend in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas. Amazon plans to expand to cover a large portion of the US population in 2014, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

The service comes with no additional charges, so members of the company's popular Prime service would be able to buy products on Friday and get them by Sunday for free. The service also applied to non-Prime members, who could get free five to eight-day shipping on orders of at least $35 (up from $25 previously).

Amazon has been spending billions of dollars in setting up new warehouses around the world to deliver products more quickly and now hopes that adding Sunday as a delivery option would generate higher sales.

USA Today quoted Dave Clark, vice president of worldwide operations and customer service as saying that the three pieces of growth for the company were selection, lower prices and speed.

He added, adding an additional day was all about delivery speed. He said an Amazon customer could order a backpack and a Kindle for their child and be packing it up on Sunday for school on Monday.