In a Reader Panel poll of The Grocer’s Top 50 list of independent retailers, two-thirds said terms needed to be improved, calling for an increase in commission rates and a reduction in the margin taken by the Post Office. Half said the terms offered did not make post office outlets worth keeping, although one retailer claimed installing the service had resulted in a “significant increase” in takings.
Despite the dissatisfaction expressed, 90% of the retailers agreed their post office counters were a footfall driver. However, the same number also said it was not acceptable to simply act as such. One said: “No business can afford to have services that cost money - they must at least break even.” Another added: “We have doubts over whether the spin-off retail sales justify the space.”
The benefits still outweigh the negatives, according to 70% of retailers, but 40% called for the chance to change or increase services - with suggestions including more financial services, the freedom to use utility payment facilities and cash machines, flexible hours and all services being available at all offices.