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Online peak trading gives 17% boost to Post Office sales

WH Smith's high street business reported a trading profit this year. Image: Shutterstock

The Post Office today reported a double digit rise in sales over the peak Christmas trading period as Covid-19 restrictions forced much of the Christmas peak trading to move online. 

Sales of £66.3m, made between November 30 and December 27, were 17% up on £56.7m at the same time last year. 

The company said that footfall was consistent with the same time last year. Sales its Drop & Go service, for businesses and online sellers sending parcels, grew by 87% over the year. 

The week starting on Monday December 7 was the busiest of the year, with 15.1m customer transactions – two-thirds involving posting mail. Across the period, 11,450 branches stayed open – equivalent to 99% of the network, which has more than 11,500 branches. 

However, travel money sales fell by 69% because of pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Post Office chief executive Nick Read says: “After a very challenging year for much of the retail sector, I am pleased to see 17% growth in network income over the Christmas period thanks to the hard work of postmasters. The mails markets, particularly for parcels, remains very strong driven by the growth in online retailing. Our physical presence has been vital across the UK, with customers enjoying the convenience, expert advice and safe hand that our postmasters offer, in addition to the invaluable support they have provided to local communities during the pandemic, with 99% of the network remaining open. 

The Post Office has recently announced a new 11-year agreement with Royal Mail, meaning that Royal Mail services will continue to be available through Post Office branches. But it may no longer be the exclusive relationship that limited the Post Office to handle only Royal Mail parcels and letters. 

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