Office Depot to sell Postal Service products
Despite widespread opposition to closing post offices, the U.S. Postal Service is moving ahead with plans to move its retail footprint beyond the post office, announcing a deal Monday with Office Depot.
The nation's second-largest office supply retailer has started selling postal products and services at 97 percent of its stores, offering Priority Mail and Express Mail services, Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and postage stamps at almost 1,100 of its stores. The deal, in the works for more than a year, is the Postal Service's first attempt to sell more than postage stamps under someone else's roof.
Susan Plonkey, a USPS senior vice president, said the deal will allow customers to do side-by-side price comparisons between USPS, FedEx and UPS at locations beyond a post office.
“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,” she said.
The Postal Service provided Office Depot stores with training materials for Depot employees. The deal is open ended and no money changed hands, according to USPS.
The Postal Service operates the nation's largest retail network, with about 36,000 post offices and stations. But USPS is expected to post about $7 billion in losses for the fiscal year that ends in September. It wants permission from Congress to close thousands of locations and reopen smaller retail outlets within supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers including Wal-Mart, potentially saving the mail agency billions of dollars in savings.
But 64 percent of Americans oppose closing post offices, according to a Washington Post conducted in March. Closing post offices is part of a broad postal reform plan presented earlier this year to lawmakers. The plan has stalled thus far, but lawmakers are expected to consider elements of the proposals when they return from summer recess, according to aides.
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