The first of 25 late-night post offices in central London has opened in partnership with an independently-run branch.

The Convenience Store on New Oxford Street’s new Post Office counter will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The company said the 25 new stores “offer greater flexibility to people collecting and returning online shopping”.

Shop owner Amarjit Singh Rakhra said: “This is an opportunity to provide my customers with a real range of services at a time that suits them, whether that’s early in the morning or late at night.”

The 25 new stores will bring the total post office count in central London to nearly 100. This equates to a post office per half a mile, compared to a national average of one post office per eight miles.

The Post Office said click and collect orders were driving the expansion, with an 18% increase in the number of parcels collected from third-party locations, such as post offices and convenience stores.

The company’s retail CEO Debbie Smith said the new London stores were part of its “wider strategy” of building more flexible, convenient access to Post Office services.

She said: “By teaming up with successful retailers with a vibrant retail offer, we’re able to create hubs of essential services that are one stop shops for our customers.”

The longer hours do not necessarily mean great rewards for those maintaining them. The Post Office’s annual accounts released in December showed that retailers and staff were being paid less, despite being expected to work longer hours.