The Grocer’s Top 50 independent retailers are calling for the Post Office to improve its commercial terms and services, but say they still broadly back it as an organisation.
Almost three quarters of those polled in our reader panel said stores in their estate housed post office counters. All of those said their contracts with the Post Office needed to be changed to offer them more freedom in terms of the types of services they could offer shoppers.
And almost nine out of 10 said the Post Office should pass on more of the margins it makes on contracts with service providers such as cashpoint operators.
“The costs and trouble involved in running a post office provide little or no profit unless you have a major outlet,” said one retailer.
Another said: “Two years ago we were convinced the Post Office completed our offer to customers. But now we believe it is becoming a drain on the profitability of the business.”
Despite this, almost nine out of 10 respondents said they were not considering scrapping the service.
Two co-operative groups have entered merger talks to create a stronger front in the south east of England. The Colchester and East Sussex Co-operative Society and the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op have more than 200 trading outlets between them and 5,000 employees. The merger is planned for completion by autumn, subject to members’ approval.

Dairy Crest has posted a 46% increase in pre-tax profits to £66.7m. Figures for the year to end March 31 showed a slight drop in turnover to £1.35bn from £1.36bn the year before. Dairy Crest’s chief executive, Drummond Hall, said the group had continued to perform well despite a challenging year in fresh milk.

Allied Domecq has urged shareholders to accept Pernod Ricard’s offer, despite a possible second bid from a consortium led by Constellation Brands, which Allied says remains highly conditional. In a letter to shareholders, Allied’s chairman, Sir Gerry Robinson, says the Allied board has unanimously recommended that its shareholders vote for the Pernod Ricard bid.

A strong performance by the convenience foods division of Greencore could not prevent a 5% fall in sales to E677m in the six months to March 25. Before exceptionals, pre-tax profit was up 8% to E32.6m.

The campaign to retain the groceries order banning below-cost selling in the Irish Republic is “a tissue of lies”, says the new head of the National Consumer Agency, Ann Fitzgerald. “The order does not do what the vested interests say it does. In fact, it was a ban on selling below-invoice price. There is a massive industry in off-invoice discounts.”
co-op merger talks
crest of the wave
pernod preferred
greencore on a roll
campaign ‘of lies’