Online retail giant Amazon has struck a deal with the U.S. Postal Service that will bring packages to doorsteps and mailboxes on Sunday. Yes, Sunday.
It's a historic deal, and not just because the post office will be delivering on Sundays for the first time. For one, a for-profit company is hiring out a government agency as a contractor, not the other way around.
It could also mark the beginning of a profitable future for the USPS, which suffers financial losses every year as competitors UPS and FedEx as well as online businesses take away market share.
Studies conducted for the USPS have projected a rather dismal future as mail volumes, especially profitable first-class items, decline. One 2009 study from the Boston Consulting Group forecast U.S. postal volumes to decrease from 177 billion pieces in 2009 to about 150 billion pieces in 2020 if business as usual continues.
Under the deal, USPS will deliver on Sundays in the Los Angeles and New York metro areas. Amazon and the USPS say they will roll out the service to a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014 including in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.
The deal isn't just a potential boon for the USPS. The Sunday delivery service is only available to members of Amazon Prime, the company's loyalty program that offers a free shipping service and guarantees two-day delivery to customers who pay an annual fee of $79.
Amazon did not reveal the value of the contract with USPS.
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