The Post Office’s Horizon court case contributed to a drop in demand for Post Office sites last year, according to Christie & Co’s retail specialist, Steve Rodell. 

He told betterRetailing: “I think, while Horizon was around, there was probably less demand for post offices because of uncertainty, but at the same time, the Post Office was trying to modernise and get into bigger stores, which they did.”

In December, the Post Office agreed to pay subpostmasters £57.7m to settle the case, which saw more than 500 subpostmasters wrongly accused of fraud or theft due to repeated errors with its Horizon computer system. 

Rodell added: “Historically, we’ve transacted a large number of post offices, but our numbers have slowly gone down over the past few years. Horizon might have been seen as a barrier, but having a post office continues to be a footfall driver.”

Judge refers Post Office staff to prosecutors over alleged Horizon cover up

Uncertainty for the business continues amid growing calls for a judge-led inquiry into the government and senior Post Office management’s conduct during the trial.

Private Eye, the Sunday Times and BBC Radio 4 have all published further damaging accounts of the Horizon court case scandal in the past week.

The government minister for the Post Office, MP Kelly Tolhurst, has refused to back calls for an inquiry. “While the government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver its strategy and operate as an independent business,” she said. 

Read all our articles on the Horizon scandal