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Mail Boxes Etc. Targets 5,000 Stores By 2007

The UPS Store has already reached its 2005 goal of opening 500 new U.S. stores.

According to Stuart Mathis, the president of San Diego-based Mail Boxes Etc. Inc., the franchiser for UPS and Mail Boxes Etc. stores, the chain is on track to open 525 new U.S. locations by year-end.

That puts MBE , with more than 3,400 U.S. locations , well on its way to 5,000 outlets in the United States by the end of 2007, Mathis said. Its goal next year is 525 stores.

MBE became a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based shipping giant UPS in 2001. It began converting Mail Boxes Etc. stores to the UPS brand in 2003. All international locations and some U.S. stores retained the MBE name.

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The parent company, traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol UPS, does not break out revenue for its MBE subsidiary.

Including international locations, there are already 5,000 UPS and Mail Boxes Etc. stores worldwide. Mathis said the long-term goal for MBE is to triple the number of its retail outlets throughout the world.

UPS and Mail Boxes Etc. locations are based on demographics such as area population and median income, but stores are typically in neighborhood shopping centers.

However, Mathis noted the UPS Store has tried some nontraditional sites this year, including a university campus, outposts in rural Wal-Mart stores, an urban location inside a Toys ‘R’ Us store in New York City, and military bases.

“We can modify our stores to accommodate whatever settings are available,” Mathis said.

Not Dwelling On Competition

Despite its name and parent company, UPS Store locations sell shipping through the U.S. Postal Service as well as UPS. Some franchises also offer the services of DHL and other shippers. According to Mathis, Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx pulled out of Mail Boxes Etc. stores that were re-branded the UPS Store.

“We don’t really spend a lot of time talking about what the competition is doing,” Mathis said. “We’re larger than all of our competitors combined.”

MBE is focused on fueling the growth of the Mail Boxes Etc. and UPS Store brands, he said.

“We’ve sold more centers this year alone than many of our competitors have locations,” Mathis said.

San Diego-based Postal Annex has 310 U.S. stores.

“We’re doing our best to encourage successful owners to open more centers,” Mathis said. About 35 percent of UPS Store franchisees own multiple outlets.

To buy a UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc. franchise, Mathis said MBE requires individuals to have $50,000 in capital and $150,000 in net worth.

“They have to have a drive and desire to own their own business,” he added.

A typical UPS Store has four to six employees, who usually work part-time.

During busy seasons, temporary part-timers may also be hired. MBE has 325 corporate employees at its headquarters in Sorrento Mesa and working with franchisees at their stores.


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