Royal Mail is to trial a Sunday parcel delivery service for major retailers this year.
The move is aimed at tapping into the seven days a week delivery market as more customers expect Sunday deliveries as part of their online shopping.
In the last year, Royal Mail said it’s processed unprecedented parcel volumes, delivering 496 million in the third quarter ending December 27.
Royal Mail said construction of its second, and largest, parcel hub is underway in Daventry in Northamptonshire, with the ability to process more than one million parcels a day.
Chief commercial officer Nick Landon said that the United Kingdom now trusts them to deliver their purchases six days a week both swiftly and conveniently, and now for the first time, posties will be doing the same thing seven days a week.
And he said that the last year has reset so many customers expectations and the desire for even more convenient and even more frequent parcel deliveries has unquestionably been one of them and that they always listen to their customers, both senders and recipients.
So, that’s what they’re doing, as promptly as possible, so that they can offer it to more and more customers across the course of this year.
Royal Mail came under attack last year after it emerged the service could scrap Saturday post.
The privatised postal giant is obliged by law to deliver six days a week under what’s called the universal service obligation, but the firm said it had seen a drop in the number of letters it handles because of emails, more billing done online and changing habits.
It said the coronavirus lockdown saw Royal Mail deliver 1.1 billion fewer letters.
Keith Williams, interim executive chairman at the Royal Mail Group, said in a letter to staff at the time that the findings tell them that the best way to ensure the universal service continues to meet their customer demand was to rebalance their service model more towards the growing parcels market, especially urgent parcels, and urgent letters.
But campaigners warned that axing first class post could hit the most vulnerable people.
Jan Shortt, of the National Pensioners Convention, said that older people, especially those living alone, as well as other vulnerable groups unable to access online services, will be the most affected by the decision.
Like those delivering milk and other goods to homes across the country, she said that postal workers are also the eyes and ears of communities, making sure that those known to be alone and vulnerable are staying safe and well.
She said that older people, more than any other group in society still rely on the post as the preferred method of communication.
I guess it would open up opportunities for Royal Mail and potential additional jobs, but to give good competition, it needs to have similar costings and services that others provide, and it would be lovely to be able to schedule deliveries on a Sunday when people know they’re going to be in all day, but I think our postman needs a day off as well to spend time with their families.
But it’s a good idea, particularly at a time when more and more use online is being used and getting our parcels even faster would be a great bonus, but we have to remember that postmen are not robots, and unless Royal Mail hires staff just for the Sunday service, this is not fair on the postmen that have to work a full week because many of them have families at home.