Postal Service to review 3,600 post offices in consolidation

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The US Postal Service said July 26 that it is studying the consolidation of as many as 3,700 post offices as it adjusts the size of its retail network.

The organization also said it will introduce “Village Post Offices,” local businesses such as pharmacies and grocery stores that will offer stamps, flat-rate packaging and other services, as a replacement option.

“Today, more than 35% of the Postal Service's retail revenue comes from expanded access locations, such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and USPS.com,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. “Our customers' habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”

The USPS will investigate each of the 3,700 offices on the list, but will close fewer than that, said Kelly Sigmon, VP of channel access at the Postal Service.

“Part of the study will include community feedback. Based on all of the data and what we hear from the public, we will determine whether an office should be closed or not,” she said, adding that the potential cost savings of the initiative is about $200 million per year. The USPS should conclude the process within four to six months, said Sigmon.

The USPS, which said it may lose $8.3 billion this fiscal year, currently operates nearly 32,000 retail offices and partners with more than 70,000 third-party retailers. Legislation introduced into this Congress would allow the Postal Service to cut Saturday home delivery, close post offices and adjust prices with greater freedom, and change its retirement and pension payments schedules.

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