Express package giant UPS is encouraging its 3,300 Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees to convert to a new format — The UPS Store. UPS acquired the franchise-driven chain in 2001, and began conducting pricing and branding tests at stores in several major U.S. markets, including San Antonio, Phoenix, Seattle and St. Louis. The test included a new policy of offering discounts to Mail Boxes customers for UPS air, ground and international shipping services.

Several new names were tested for the chain, but the UPS brand proved the biggest draw. UPS says December 2002 year-over-year sales at test stores increased their UPS shipping volume by 70 percent. The company has no plans to change the trade names of its 1,000 Mail Boxes Etc. units outside of the United States.