The Post Office has overtaken Tesco to become the UK’s largest retail network to open on a Sunday, with 3,800 branches now open seven days a week.

Hundreds of new Post Office Local counters have opened in convenience stores and independent retailers since the start of the modernisation programme three years ago. In the past year alone, almost 500 branches offering Sunday services have opened.

In total more than 6,000 branches have been modernised and so far the ongoing transformation programme has delivered an extra 195,000 opening hours a week.

Post Office research shows that 31% of people are more likely to use their Post Office branch if it is open on Sundays, with this figure rising to 38% for those aged between 35 and 44.

With almost 18% of people saying they do most of their shopping on a Sunday, providing easy access to Post Office services, from cash withdrawals to online shopping and collections and returns, is now a key part of the Post Office offer.

Kevin Gilliland, Post Office network and sales director, said: “I’m delighted that millions of people across the UK can now access Post Office services seven days a week. We are building a secure financial footing to maintain our services at the heart of communities for the future.

“Our modernisation plan is all about getting better for customers and making sure that branches across the country offer opening hours to meet their customers’ needs, with Sunday opening increasing rapidly across our network.”

One of the 3,800 branches open on Sundays is the community run Ide Hill Shop and Post Office in Kent.

Postmistress Liz Denbigh said: “The shop and Post Office is a real lifeline for the community, it’s more than just a shop it’s also a meeting place for local residents.

“Sunday is a busy time for us, as people pop in to get items for their Sunday lunch or to have a cup of coffee and a chat, so it makes sense to offer access to Post Office services too.”