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No planned increase for stamp prices

By Ed O'Keefe

Americans will continue to pay 44 cents for first-class stamps in 2010 and the price to mail catalogs and magazines will also stay the same, according to an internal Postal Service memo.

"Simply stated, there will not be a price increase for market dominant products including First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, periodicals and single-piece Parcel Post," Postmaster General John E. Potter said in a memo sent to Postal staffers and some customer groups late last week and obtained by The Eye on Monday. (Read it below.)

"While increasing prices might have generated revenue for the Postal Service in the short term, the long term effect could drive additional mail out of the system," Potter said. "We want mailers to continue to invest in mail to grow their business, communicate with valued customers, and maintain a strong presence in the marketplace."

First-class mail rates cover cards and letters sent by individuals or bills sent by companies. The price of a first-class stamp climbed from 42 cents to 44 cents earlier this year. Standard mail is for catalogs, advertising supplements, newspapers and magazines. Single-piece parcel post rates cover small packages sent by individuals.

The memo leaves open the door to a price jump for mailing packages through Priority Mail, Express Mail, Parcel Select and some international services. A final decision will be announced next month.

The Postal Service lost billions of dollars in the fiscal year that ended last month. It has cut jobs and work hours through attrition and offered $450 million in buyouts to thousands of older employees. Congressional action also allowed the agency to delay $4 billion in payments to fund future retiree health benefits.

PMG SAYS NO PRICING INCREASE FOR MARKET DOMINANT PRODUCTS IN 2010

To Postal Service Customers:

Many of you have expressed concerns regarding mailing costs for 2010. The tough economic climate has presented significant challenges to all of us and pessimistic speculation has suggested that postal prices could increase by as much as 10 percent.

As we begin a new fiscal year and as many of you, our business clients, are preparing your 2010 operating budgets, we want to end all speculation.

The Postal Service will not increase prices for market dominant products in calendar year 2010.

Simply stated, there will not be a price increase for market dominant products including First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, periodicals and single-piece Parcel Post. There will be no exigent price increase for these products.

This is the right decision at the right time for the right reason. Promoting the value of mail and encouraging its continued use is essential for jobs, the economy, and the future of both the Postal Service and the mailing industry.

While increasing prices might have generated revenue for the Postal Service in the short term, the long term effect could drive additional mail out of the system. We want mailers to continue to invest in mail to grow their business, communicate with valued customers, and maintain a strong presence in the marketplace. Changes in pricing for our competitive products -- Priority Mail, Express Mail, Parcel Select, and most international products -- are under consideration. We expect to announce a decision in November.

We are committed to working with customers to find ways to grow the mail through innovative incentives like the Summer Sale and contract pricing. Mail is the most effective means of communication and advertising and we will continue to work together to increase the value of the mail. Mail is a smart investment for the future.

John E. Potter
Postmaster General

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 19, 2009; 5:33 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Comments

Oooh, a newspaper story about the post office. How deliciously legacy.

Posted by: DupontJay | October 19, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

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