WISBECH: Search for a retail partner for Wisbech Post Office

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The Post Office has announced it is officially searching for a retailer to operate the Wisbech Post Office branch, but if one cannot be found, the branch will remain the same.

Wisbech is one of 70 Crown Post Office branches for which the company is seeking retail partners. These branches are part of the current Crown network of 370 branches which are directly managed by the Post Office and based in high streets and city centres across the UK.

Kevin Gilliland, Network and Sales Director at the Post Office said: “Wisbech branch serves thousands of customers every week. However, we must change the way it operates to ensure its long term viability and to maintain services for people in the area.

“We already have over 10,000 branches which operate through franchises and agreements with retailers so we know this model works. We welcome approaches from potential retail partners who want to work with us to provide our customers with high levels of customer service and easy access to Post Office products from a modern retail space.

“We are committed to modernising our Crown network to make it as easy as possible for customers to access our services and bring in new business. It is currently losing £40m a year of public money. Partnering 70 branches with retailers and investing £70 million in 300 Crown branches is the best way to keep our branches on high streets and city centres across the UK.“

Any branch which moves to a retailer’s premises will offer access to the wide range of Post Office products including travel, financial and mail services. Post Office research shows that customer satisfaction levels are just as high for customers visiting franchise branches as those who access Post Office services via the Crown network.

The Post Office is currently undertaking the biggest business transformation programme in its history. The changes taking place across the Crown network are part of the Post Office’s wider three-year transformation programme, a £1.34bn investment programme which will see thousands of Post Offices converted into new, more modern branches with longer opening hours. Many branches operated by retailers now open seven days a week and from as early as 5.30am and until 11.00pm.

Crown branches make up three per cent of the 11,800 Post Office network. If a suitable retailer is found then a six week public consultation will be carried out before any move takes place.

Post Office is looking for a potential operator to provide Post Office services in 70 locations, including Wisbech branch.

The intention is that subject to the public consultation the existing Crown branch will be transferred to third party retail operator before April 2015. If no suitable partner can be found the Crown branch will remain.

The potential operator must be able to provide Post Office services in the same area, either from the retailers existing premises or through acquiring suitable premises in the area.

Potential retail partners will need to be able to offer a suitable retail space in which to house Wisbech Post Office branch. It must also be willing to invest in its premises to offer Post Office services from a modern retail environment.

Retailers can visit www.postoffice.co.uk/business-opportunities to find out more or email franchise.opportunities@postoffice.co.uk to request a copy of our registration of interest form.

All completed registration forms must be submitted by close of business on 27 May 2013.