News Column

Postal Service May Close Near 10% of Nationwide Locations

July 26, 2011

post office, postal service, downsizing
A customer utilizes an Automated Postal Center, one of the USPS retail replacement options.

The U.S. Postal Service today announced that it is considering closing up to 3,700 of its 32,000 locations nationwide.

This is the latest in the U.S. Postal Service's efforts to stay viable in a modern era where electronics have largely replaced general correspondence, and business is increasingly going paperless. The agency also pointed out that its services are increasingly being filled by partners and self-service options, diminishing the need for full Postal Service retail branches. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said:

"Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service's retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and, open 24/7. Our customers' habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business."

For communities that are underserved, the Postal Service is introducing the Village Post Office to serve as a potential replacement option. These ventures would be operated by local businesses (pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.), and the USPS says offerings would include stamps and flat-rate packaging.

In the past, the USPS has considered eliminating Saturday deliveries as a cost-saving measure. The Postal Service is funded wholly by the sale of postage, products and services. It receives no tax dollars for operating expenses.

The agency points out that currently, with postal retail offices and third-party retailers combined, there are about 100,000 locations for approved postal services. Accordingly, the potential 3,700 office reduction would represent closer to a 4 percent decrease, rather than a close to 10 percent decrease when counting only USPS-run retail locations.

HispanicBusiness magazine has ranked the U.S. Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity.

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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