The UK Post Office today reports its key trading figures for the peak Christmas period from 29 November to 26 December 2021.
Because the Covid-19 restrictions in 2020 created exceptional demand for mails and parcels services, as people could not meet in person and sent cards and presents by post instead, we have included comparisons with the pre-pandemic 2019 period where appropriate.
In 2021, the pandemic continued to contribute to a challenging retail environment and reduced footfall on Britain’s High Streets. However, Post Office’s performance was resilient. There were 50.5 million customer transactions during the four-week period, down just 1.7% on the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, and down only 1.5% on 2020.
Total network income* for the four-week period was £73.8m. Compared with the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, this was an increase of 15%. Compared with the exceptional 2020 period it was a 5% fall.
|29 November – 26 December||2021||2019||% vs.2021||2020||% vs. 2021|
|network income*||£73.8m||£63.9m||+ 15||£77.9m||– 5|
- The week beginning Monday 13 December was our busiest week of the year, with 14.6m customer transactions. On Christmas Day itself, 65,000 transactions took place at Post Offices that were open, typically in convenience stores.
- Network availability was as its highest level since before the pandemic, with 11,596 branches trading in December, almost 100 branches over our 11,500 requirement.
- Over 3,100 Post Offices offered ‘Click and Collect’ services for DPD and Amazon for the first time. Around 70% of parcels were collected within one day of arriving at a Post Office branch.
- Post Office launched new charity partnership with Trussell Trust, the charity that works to end the need for food banks in the UK, on 30 November, donating 1p from every over-the-counter cash withdrawal at branches and hoping to raise £250,000 for the charity. Post Office made excellent progress in reaching this target over the period.
Mails and Parcels
Overall volumes were up versus the same period in 2019, reflecting broader trends in eCommerce growth. Drop & Go, the Post Office’s fast-track service continued to support businesses and online sellers sending parcels with sales value increasing by 60% compared with 2019. For the first time ever, Drop & Go customers were able to earn rewards up to £100 in both November and December as part of a tiered loyalty reward scheme.
Cash and Banking
Services excelled with small and independent businesses relying on their local Post Office to deposit cash takings at a time that’s convenient for them. In the period 29 November to 26 December, thanks to the continued, widespread access to cash provided by the network, £2.11bn was deposited and £813m was withdrawn at Post Offices, up more than a third (33.7%) compared with 2020 and 20% higher than the same period pre-pandemic in 2019. Post Offices are now handling £3 billion in cash every month which coincides with the long-term trend of bank branch closures.
Post Office Travel Money
Saw a 100% increase in like-for-like sales compared with the same period in 2020 when greater travel restrictions were in place. Euros were the most popular currency accounting for around 65% of weekly sales over the period. After US Dollars, the most popular currency sales were UAE Dirham and the Australian Dollar.
Post Office Travel Insurance
Saw a 445% increase in sales of its award-winning products compared with the same period last year and were up 13% on 2019, pre-pandemic. Overall, Post Office Insurance products (Travel, Motor, Home, Protection) saw sales up 118% compared with Christmas 2020.
Volumes performed well against an overall market decline of -9%, with volumes in line with prior years across Post Office & Payzone. Post Office is the exclusive provider of warm home discount vouchers for many leading energy firms and issued 215k warm home discounts to customers over November and December.
Comments on Christmas Trading
“Whilst the parcel market remains highly competitive and challenging, Post Offices have delivered a resilient performance in the face of Covid-19 restrictions, dramatic falls in footfall on our High Streets, and general uncertainty about the cost of living. It’s a testament to the determination and hard work of Postmasters that so many remained open, providing essential services to their community, with well over 11,500 branches trading.
“Our cash and banking offer performed very strongly, ensuring people could withdraw cash to spend locally on hospitality and gifts, and small businesses had somewhere open to deposit their takings. Our travel business goes from strength to strength and the recent relaxation in travel testing rules provides us with further opportunities to benefit commercially over the coming months. This year we will also expand our ‘Click and Collect’ services from 3,100 branches to over 6,000.”Nick Read, Chief Executive, Post Office.
Editorial Note: This post is from a Company Press Release and may have been modified for clarity.
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