Brylane Switches to UPS

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Brylane Inc. entered an agreement with United Parcel Service in which UPS will deliver the majority of Brylane outbound shipments, the cataloger said last week.

Brylane previously used Airborne for air shipments while the U.S. Postal Service handled ground shipments in conjunction with consolidators.

Brylane no longer will use Airborne. It will continue to use the USPS in some cases, but the agreement replaces "the bulk of USPS and completely replaces the consolidators," said Chip Edgington, senior vice president of operations and fulfillment at Brylane.

The transition to UPS began in November.

Brylane, New York, a wholly owned subsidiary of Redcats and Pinault-Printemps-Redoute S.A., ships more than 30 million parcels yearly through 10 brand-name catalogs.

As part of the deal, Brylane will use a new customized service from UPS called UPS Basic that combines its ground delivery service with the U.S. Postal Service's Parcel Select. For the service, UPS uses Parcel Select for deliveries up to five pounds, mainly to rural or super-rural areas. Customers using UPS Basic give their packages to UPS, which moves them through its ground network. UPS will separate out the packages that are to be delivered to the rural areas and turn them over to the local post office for final delivery. UPS will not disclose rates for UPS Basic.

Other customer service improvements will begin in first-quarter 2004, Brylane said.

For example, average delivery time will be reduced by about two days, and customers will be able to track the delivery status of orders with more detailed information. Brylane said this will reduce the calls the company gets. Brylane customers also will be able to have returns picked up by UPS at the customer's home.

Edgington would not disclose financial data as it relates to the switch but said "we have had significant savings driven from the customer service improvements."

Edgington said that Brylane might expand its relationship with UPS, including use of UPS for the delivery of merchandise from Brylane's vendors to its distribution centers.

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