07.12.16: Post Office customers will benefit from one million extra opening hours this Christmas as it gears up for a busy festive season[i]. Whether collecting online shopping, posting letters and cards to loved ones or withdrawing cash, the Post Office is working hard to make it easier for customers this Christmas.
This year Post Office is expecting to handle a record number of online purchases and returns at its 11,600 branches as retailers predict booming sales of £24.3bn, up 10 per cent year on year[ii]. Through its modernisation programme Post Office branches are now open for an extra 220,000 extra hours per week, up 50% on last year.The Post Office has 4,000 branches open on Sundays and isready to meet the demand.
Research has found Post Office to be the most trusted place to collect online shopping for over 75 per cent of people[iii], with two thirds (66 per cent) of shoppers saying it is their preferred route to return unwanted items[iv].
To help with the festive rush, hundreds of “Christmas makers” will be working in branches over the coming weeks to assist customers with their preparations.In addition to the extra people on hand, the Post Office has introduced another 14 mobile Post Offices to its fleet this year, improving services to 80 rural communities across the UK.The latest community to benefit is Newborough in Wales which received its first very special delivery of a mobile Post Office service this week.
Kevin Gilliland, Group Network and Sales Director at Post Office said: “People in Post Offices around the UK are working hard to make this Christmas special for our customers. Many of our 7,000 modernised branches are open from early in the morning and late into the evening seven days a week, making it more convenient to visit. One million extra opening hours is just the start of our Christmas effort, over 55,000 people in our 11,600 branches are on hand to help the millions of customers who will visit in the run up to Christmas.
“We are alsoimproving the service for our rural customers across the UK with a fleet of mobile Post Offices. Newborough is the latest community to benefit from this special service, with a fully-equipped van launching this week.”
The Post Office at Christmas is not just about posting cards and gifts – increasingly, customers can purchase them in branch too. As well as thousands of branches offering their own extensive retail offer varying from turkeys to Christmas trees*, Post Office branches also offer One4 All gift cards, the perfect present for any hard to buy for friends and family as they can be used in thousands of retailers. Marks and Spencer is just one of the new retailers which are part of the scheme this Christmas[v].
Notes to editors:
Issued by:Post Office Press Office
Post Office Retail Case Studies*
Baltonsborough Post Office, near Glastonbury, opened in Baltonsborough Farm Shop in March 2015. As well as offering seven days a week access to Post Office services, the shop offers fresh home-grown flowers and vegetables and has an on-site butchers.
The new branch in Huby, near York, operates from a not for profit community shop run by the 420 villagers, selling locally made jams, pickles and fresh produce. Local bakers provide a range of bread, cakes and biscuits.
The branch was opened with the support of the local Hambleton District Council and our £20m Community Fund which aims to support branches which are run from the last or only shop in the area.
At Blaenavon Post Office, which is based in arts and crafts shop and workshop Artie Craftie, customers can attend workshops, as well as buy a range of arts and crafts materials, including those to help them make their own candle stick holders.
[i]Longer hours this Christmas calculation: Post Office branches now open for an extra 220,000 hours per week in the 5 weeks leading up to Christmas since modernisation programme began in 2012. Total of 1.1m extra hours
[iii]According to research by Hall & Partners for Royal Mail Delivery Matters – Returns Special report, December 2014.
[iv]According to research by Hall & Partners for Royal Mail Delivery Matters – Returns Special report, December 2014.
vAccepted in over 120 High Street brands, including Amazon, Argos, Marks & Spencer, Boots, Primark, Debenhams, H&M, GAP, Boots and many, many more.Further information can be found at www.postoffice.co.uk/one4all-gift-card
About the Post Office
Post Office Limited has an unrivalled national network of over 11,600 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of many communities across the country.
It provides around 170 different services and products spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards. Post Office also offers Government services, telephony, foreign currency, travel insurance and mail services.
99.7% of people live within three miles of their nearest Post Office outlet. For many rural communities the Post Office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices remain highly valued and trusted and are the focal point for many communities. For more information, visit www.postoffice.co.uk.