Half of Post Office branches make under £5,000, admits CEO Nick Read

Read said increased branch closures were likely

Post Office

The Post Office (PO) is forecasting increased profits, despite chief executive Nick Read admitting around half of branches are making less than £5,000 in profit per year. 

Responding to questions from MPs at a business, energy and industrial strategy committee last week, Read revealed a 26% drop in branch sales in December, but still pledged “we will make a trading profit bigger than we made in the previous two years”. He added the success was driven by sales online, rather than in branch. 

Despite pledging to use the online profits to “support our postmasters”, he later warned: “Potentially 50% of the PO estate is earning and generating less than £5,000 of profit. On energy alone… they are likely to see an increase of between £6,000 and £8,000 this year.” 

Read said increased branch closures were likely. “The turnover of subpostmasters is surprisingly low, [but] we think that’s something that will become more difficult as the year progresses,” he added. 

A PO spokesperson told betterRetailing postmasters building the PO brand were responsible for the online success, adding: “We are currently exploring ways to ensure that online profitability is more broadly shared. We will also continue to press government for greater energy support.” 

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