Retailers testing the Post Office Local model have lauded the benefits of the scheme.

The model has been trialled in 75 stores since November last year and Post Office Ltd hopes to roll it out to 2,000 stores by 2015. Under the model, a core range of Post Office services are offered over the retail counter through a separate epos system, instead of at a dedicated counter.

Andrew Thornton installed a Post Office Local in his Budgens store in Belsize Park, London, and reported he was impressed with the results so far. “It’s added an extra 2% to our turnover and customers are gobsmacked that they can have postal services on a Sunday afternoon or at 9pm at night,” he explained.

He added that customers have really taken to it. “It’s really cemented our place in the community,” said Andrew. “We’re not running a post office to make a profit, it’s more of a service to the community.”

David Brown of Nisa Local in Crawcrook, Ryton, Gateshead, has also been trialling the scheme and said it had increased his turnover. “There’s been about a 6% increase in turnover since we introduced it,” he said.

“It’s really enhanced the community as well and gives more people the chance to make use of post office services more easily.”

A recent Consumer Focus survey raised concerns about the privacy and safety aspects of the Post Office Local model, but Post Office spokesman Keith Rosser attempted to dispel these fears at the recent Association of Convenience Stores Services Forum.

“We’re aware of the concerns that people have and we conduct risk assessments to ensure the safety of the retailers and their customers,” he said. “As it stands, the Post Office Local model is as safe an environment as a dedicated counter.”

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