Royal Mail plans to trial Sunday parcel delivery

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THE NEWLY-PRIVATISED Royal Mail is to start delivering parcels and opening its collection offices on Sundays to try and keep up with the demands of online shoppers and other postal companies.

Royal Mail, which will post its first full-year results as a listed company today, plans to deliver parcels within the M25 seven days a week from this summer. It will also open around 100 of the country’s busiest delivery offices on Sunday afternoons.

And Parcelforce, the company’s express parcels business, is set to offer a Sunday service directly to online retailers. Parcels account for around half of Royal Mail’s revenues and are on the rise, while ordinary mail volumes are falling.

“Through these new Sunday services we are exploring ways to improve our flexibility and provide more options for people to receive items they have ordered online,” Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said in a statement.

The group said the Communication Workers Union has given its support to the trials.

“With ever-increasing numbers of people opting to shop online, Sunday services are necessary to deal with the growing demand in parcel delivery,” CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said.

While Royal Mail is responsible for delivering almost all UK letters, the parcel delivery business is more open to competition. DPD announced last month that it would launch Sunday services, while UK Mail said it operates seven-day deliveries when there is enough customer demand, chiefly in the run-up to Christmas.

“We think delivery slots when customers want is far more important. But if you’re fed up with queueing for parcels on a Saturday, you can now queue up on a Sunday,” UK Mail chief executive Guy Buswell told City A.M.

Royal Mail joined the London stock market in October, leaving the government with a 30 per cent stake. The shares have risen from 330p on their debut to 575p yesterday.

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