Curiosity on summer sale reigns at NPF

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A major point of interest at this week's National Postal Forum has been the proposed USPS Summer Sale on Standard Mail letters and flats.

The sale, pending approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, is intended to drive volume during the traditionally slow July to September quarter. A 30% rebate is being offered on Standard Mail letters and flats that push the mail volume above the mailer's average. Eligible mailers will have sent more than one million Standard letters and/or flats between October 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008.

“Folks are excited that the USPS is thinking outside the box with creative ways to encourage mailers to put a higher volume of mail into the mailstream,” said David Robinson, director of address quality for Pitney Bowes Postal and Carrier Relations, of mailer reaction to the sale. “For them to come up with this concept and implement it in such a short period of time is exciting, and adding volume to the mailstream is good for everyone. It's like a postal stimulus package.”

Some members of the mailing industry believe the Summer Sale could act as a pilot for a recurring USPS program. The USPS will be measuring the results of this sale carefully — not only to learn for possible future programs, but to ensure fairness among those participating.

Part of the calculation for the discounts, Robinson explained, is that volumes for October mailings don't change significantly from last year, ensuring that mailers will not just move fall mailings up into the sale period. Rebates from the sale will not be calculated until after October 31, and will be rewarded by December 31.

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