- Opening of Bergh Apton branch set in Green Pastures - a garden centre, farm shop and restaurant - hits 3,000 mark
- Post Office set to be UK’s largest retail network open on Sundays within a year
- Branches now open from early morning until late in the evening – some with 24/7 opening
- Sunday shopping comes of age – 21 years this weekend since shops first opened their doors on Sunday
- Post Office branches are in pubs, coffee shops, garages and libraries
The Post Office has announced it has hit the 3,000 mark for branches now open seven days a week. Through its modernisation programme, more and more branches are opening from early in the morning until well into the evening, with Sunday opening increasing rapidly across the network.
New research from the Post Office shows that almost a third of people (31 per cent) feel they would be more likely to use their local Post Office branch more often if it was open on a Sunday. This figure rises to almost two in five (38 per cent) for 35 to 44 year olds. Twenty one years on from retailers first opening their doors on Sundays it seems this service has really come of age. Almost one in five 25 to 34 year olds (18 per cent) choose to do most of their shopping on a Sunday. This compares to just six per cent of 55 year olds and over, whose shopping habits were perhaps shaped in the days of six shopping days a week.
People across the UK want the Post Office to offer easy access to a wide range of services from banking to home shopping collections and returns. Through its partnership with Royal Mail, the Post Office offers access to the UK’s largest Click and Collect network. Post Office research showed that almost half (43 per cent) of people using a collection point usually collect their items outside the weekday hours of nine to five. Millions of items have been handled across Post Office counters on Sundays since the start of the Post Office transformation programme so it’s a service which people are now taking advantage of.
The opening of Bergh Apton branch in Norfolk this week will see the Post Office hit the 3,000 mark. This takes the Post Office closer to its goal of being the UK’s largest retail network trading seven days a week, which it expects to reach within the next year.
Like the communities they serve, Post Office branches come in many shapes and sizes, from pubs to coffee shops and even churches. The home of the new Post Office in Bergh Apton, near Norwich, is Green Pastures, which offers a garden centre, farm shop and restaurant.
Kevin Gilliland, Network Director at Post Office, says the investment programme is ensuring Post Office branches remain at the heart of communities, from city centres to villages, across the UK. “Our customers’ needs are changing, and so are we. We intend to be the largest retail network in the UK open seven days a week. Through our modernisation programme, our branches are open when and where people want them to be, offering customers real convenience to return online shopping items, pay bills or withdraw cash at a time that suits them best”.
Michelle Evans and James Debbage, who run Green Pastures Plant Centre and Farm Shop, said: “We asked our customers when they’d like to use the Post Office and it was a resounding yes to Sunday opening. The branch will be open seven days a week, alongside our shop and restaurant, so people can visit the Post Office at the same time. Sunday is our busiest day, so we’re delighted to be able to offer this service to our customers.”
As well as being open at weekends, many Post Offices are open earlier and later. The earliest branch opens at 3.30am and the latest closes at midnight. In addition, three branches are literally open all hours – 24/7.
More than 99% of the UK population lives within three miles of a Post Office branch, 93% within one mile. In total the Post Office has more than 11,500 branches, making it the largest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined.
The Post Office is undertaking the biggest modernisation programme in its history, transforming more than 8,000 branches into new, modern retail outlets and also investing in more than 3,000 community branches, which are often the last shop in the village. Well over 4,500 branches have already been transformed, resulting in an extra 150,000 opening hours for customers.
Kevin continued: “We know how important Post Office services are to our customers. These vibrant, modern Post Office branches are proving incredibly popular. It is all part of ensuring that we’re at the heart of communities, putting customers first and providing exactly what they need”.
To find out more about local Post Office branch opening times, visit www.postoffice.co.uk/branchfinder.
About the Post Office
The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.
The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit http://www.postoffice.co.uk/.
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