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New research shows Post Offices deliver lifeline to struggling high streets, providing an extra £1.1bn revenue to other businesses

Press release   •   Oct 21, 2020 09:16 BST

  • New research carried out by Public First finds visits to the Post Office help drive another 400 million visitors to other shops, restaurants and local businesses.
  • 33% of respondents said that on their last trip to the Post Office they had stopped at another shop, cafe, pub or restaurant, driving an estimated £1.1 billion in additional revenue.
  • 43% of small businesses say they would not be able to continue functioning without the Post Office.
  • Post Office branches designated an essential retailer and remain open and serving local communities throughout any Covid-19 restrictions.

New research has revealed how important having a Post Office is to the survival of the UK’s High Streets.

The Public First research, commissioned by the Post Office, found that 33% of respondents said that on their last trip to the Post Office they had stopped at another shop, café, pub or restaurant. This resulted in an additional 400 million visitors to these local businesses, generating £1.1 billion in additional revenue.

The research showed that 82 per cent of the public see their local Post Office as an essential service, with young people valuing it almost as much as older people. Summing up just how important the local Post Office is, it came out as the top choice when respondents were asked what would make up their ideal High Street – far ahead of stalwarts like a supermarket or a GP’s surgery

Small businesses also rely on their Post Office to keep their businesses functioning – with 43% of small businesses saying they would not survive without a local Post Office.

There are 11,500 branches across the UK with around 4,000 open seven days a week. ‘Bedroom’ businesses use their branch to drop off parcels to fulfil their customer orders and independent retailers depend on a branch to deposit a day’s takings. The Post Office has more branches than all the banks and building societies combined.

Nick Read, Chief Executive at the Post Office, said:

“Local post offices are a lifeline for communities across the UK as they are the place to go to do everyday banking or send parcels. We are an essential retailer and will remain open wherever possible during these recently introduced lockdown restrictions. The footfall we generate could make a big difference to sustaining high streets over the long term and helping small businesses start and grow, contributing to economic recovery across the UK.”

Post Office enables small businesses to operate

The research found that:

  • 60% of small businesses that Public First spoke to agreed that the Post Office is important to their business, and 72% that the Post Office is particularly important for small businesses.
    • When small businesses were asked how long they would be able to function without the Post Office, 43% said they would only be able to keep going for a few months at most; and 32% only a few weeks.To put that into context, that is the equivalent to a fifth (22%) of the entire UK economy, or a quarter (26%) of jobs.
  • 83% of small businesses agreed that the Post Office had been important to their business during the first lockdown period earlier this year.

Post Office branches remain open whilst further lockdown measures introduced

Post Offices are deemed an essential retailer by the UK Government. Branches will remain open throughout any lockdown measures. Customers are required to wear a face mask inside any branch, unless exempt, and practice safe social distancing.

When asked about the first lockdown period:

  • 39% of respondents said they had gone to the Post Office since lockdown began - significantly higher than the proportion that gone to work (29%) or their bank (21%).
  • 22% of respondents said that they had continued to visit the Post Office regularly, or at least once a month on average.

Post Office’s own Cash Tracker data showed that September was the highest month for personal cash deposits all year with over £1 billion deposited at branches by personal customers.

The research can be seen by clicking this link

Ends

As part of the research for this report, Public First ran two new extensive polls of consumers and small businesses:

  • Consumer Poll. An in-depth nationally representative poll of 2,011 adults in Britain, weighted by interlocking age and gender, region and social grade. The fieldwork for this poll was completed between 24th August to 30th August 2020.
  • Small Businesses. An in-depth poll of 1,004 businesses with fewer than 250 employees, weighted by business size, sector and region. The fieldwork for this poll was completed between 26th and 28th August 2020.

About Post Office:

  • With 11,500 branches, the Post Office is among the larger retail networks in the UK.
  • 98% of Post Office branches are run with retail partners on an agency or franchise basis.
  • The Post Office provides services central to peoples’ everyday lives; 99.7% of the population lives within 3 miles of a Post Office.
  • We offer the UK’s largest fee free cash withdrawal network through our 11,500 branches, over 2,000 cash machines and 99 per cent of UK bank customers can access their accounts at the Post Office.
  • We sell 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.
  • Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information; visit www.postoffice.co.uk and to find out about a Post Office business opportunities; visit www.runapostoffice.co.uk