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FedEx, UPS Hope to Spark Chain Reactions in Battle for Customers

The owners of the old Kinko's and Mail Boxes Etc. stores see retail as a key to sustained growth.

October 17, 2004|James F. Peltz | Times Staff Writer

UPS is still wrestling with branding issues at its stores. The company acknowledges that some consumers don't realize UPS bought Mail Boxes Etc. and that they see a UPS Store as merely a place to drop off shipments.

"Our challenge today is still getting the word out that we've done this conversion," said Williams, the UPS Store franchisee.

Brand confusion is a challenge for FedEx too at times. Amid the furor last month over CBS News' use of apparently forged documents concerning President Bush's military record, news accounts kept saying the documents had been faxed from a Kinko's in Abilene, Texas -- not from a FedEx Kinko's.

Kusin isn't complaining. When you are locked in a battle with UPS, he said, "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

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Packed with competitiveness

The FedEx and UPS retail store chains offer printing, packaging and other office services in addition to shipping.

*--* UPS Store/ FedEx Kinko's Mail Boxes Etc. Original chain founded: 1970, in Santa Barbara 1980, in San Diego Purchased by shipper: February 2004 April 2001 Price: $2.2 billion $190 million New headquarters: Dallas San Diego No. of stores worldwide: 1,200 owned 5,000 franchised No. of Calif. stores: 200 500 Average store size: 6,000 square feet 1,500 square feet Operates in: 11 countries 41 countries

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Source: Company reports, Times research

Times staff writer Ronald D. White contributed to this report.

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