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USPS shipping services now available at Office Depot

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 17, 2010

As part of a continuing effort to meet customer needs—and generate solutions to drive needed revenue—the United States Postal Service (USPS) is now offering shipping services at 1,083 Office Depot stores throughout the United States.

Among the USPS services now available at Office Depot are Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, Priority Mail service, Express Mail service, Parcel Post, stamps, Delivery Confirmation and Signature Confirmation.

“We’re excited to extend some of the best shipping values in the country to Office Depot customers, at a time and place that’s convenient to them,” said Susan Plonkey, USPS acting president, Mailing and Shipping Services, in a statement. “Small businesses, especially, will be able to compare shipping companies side by side and see for themselves that Postal Service prices are very competitive and affordable.”

As an Approved Postal Provider, Office Depot is the first national retailer to offer Postal Service shipping products and services, according to the USPS.

USPS officials added that expanding access to products and services is one of the key components of “Delivering the Future,” the Postal Service’s action plan for the future. That plan also identifies shipping as one of the key growth opportunities for increased financial stability.

“A key component of that initiative is expanding accessing to USPS shipping services, and this new partnership with Office Depot does just that,” said Doug Caldwell, president of ParcelResearch. “Office Depot has [nearly 1,100] locations in the US, and nearly all of them are open on evenings and weekends-most of them even on Sunday. This is really a win-win; the Postal Service should pick up healthy volumes of new Priority and Express business, and Office Depot should generate equally significant floor traffic to their retail locations. And a large percentage of that walk in traffic is likely to be from the coveted SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) market segment-a key demographic for Office Depot.”

This new offering comes at a good time for the USPS, given its current financial situation.

In its recently-released recently released fiscal year third quarter earning, USPS said it incurred a net loss of $3.5 billion compared to $2.4 billion for the same timeframe last year, with operating revenue at $16 billion, a $294 million annual decline. Operating expenses—at $19.5 billion—were up $789 million year-over-year. This is the 14th net loss in the last 16 quarters for the USPS, with its fiscal 2010 year-to-date net loss at $5.4 billion compared to $4.7 billion at this point in 2009.

USPS officials said the increase in operating expenses was mainly due to higher workers’ compensation expenses because of a non-cash fair value adjustment and higher retiree health benefits expenses.

Mail volume for the quarter—at 40.9 billion pieces—was down roughly 700 million pieces of 1.7 percent.

Due largely to an ongoing diversion to electronic alternatives, including e-mailing business documents and online purchasing orders, as well as other electronic mailing processes, the USPS has been under difficult circumstances for more than three years. What’s more, it is faced with the possibility of a projected $7 billion shortfall for Fiscal Year 2011.

And the USPS also is working to restructure retiree health benefits for as many as 800,000 retirees, even though it only has an active work force of 596,000 career employees. It currently has an obligation to pay $5.4-to-$5.8 billion annually to prefund retiree health benefits.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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