Gift Voucher Service Opens in Britain

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The Post Office Ltd. and The Gift Voucher Shop announced Friday a gift voucher service designed to lift some of the gloom surrounding declining retail sales in the United Kingdom.

The gift voucher service will be available at all 14,600 Post Office branches nationwide, giving these 28 million weekly customers access to an extensive range of retailers. Vouchers will be available for major brands including B&Q, Comet, Debenhams, Habitat, Halfords, Goldsmiths, Miss Selfridge, Mothercare, River Island, Topshop and Woolworths.

Post Office Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group plc and operates under the Post Office brand. The Gift Voucher Shop launched Ireland's multi-retailer gift voucher program with An Post, the Irish postal service operator.

Customers also can buy "enjoyment" and "experience" vouchers, which let the recipient choose from activities such as a day at a theme park, a health spa, fine wines at Vinopolis, or driving a Ferrari.

Gift vouchers also may be purchased by phone and online, meaning people living outside of Britain can participate. Derek Rocholl, head of payment services at Post Office Ltd., said he expects the program to attract people living or working abroad who want to send gifts directly to friends and family in the UK.

"We believe the new service will be very popular with our customers and stimulate an increase in the total size of the current UK gifting market," he said.

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