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FedEx blames 'unprecedented' online shopping surge for Christmas gift delays

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

After a week of holiday deliveries that didn’t all make it on time, FedEx is talking about what went wrong — and it’s not taking all the blame for itself. In a statement to Bloomberg today, the company deflected late delivery blame on procrastinating shoppers and "an unprecedented surge" in online orders during the days leading up to Christmas. To catch up with its shipping, thousands of the company’s workers reported for work on Christmas Day, and the company’s Express unit expanded to Saturday service. The company also pointed to the severe winter storms in the South and Northeast as causing further delays.

FedEx and UPS have both struggled in years past to deliver gifts in time for Christmas Day. Two years ago, UPS also blamed an unexpected increase in last minute shopping for its delays, which pushed Amazon to refund shipping charges and offer a $20 gift card to customers with delayed orders. Now, Amazon is rumored to be looking into its own fleet of air cargo jets. If that endeavor comes to fruition, the retailer might be able to rely far less on outside shipping companies during the holiday season crunch.