Christmas delivered says Royal Mail

Concerns remain ahout service
Concerns remain ahout service

Royal Mail said its Christmas went to plan after it handled around 120 million parcels during December, a rise of more than four per cent on a year ago.

Despite the growth, the company said trading conditions were “highly competitive” with UK parcel revenues flat in the nine months to December 28.

Its rival City Link was forced out of business in December amid the fall-out from Amazon’s increased use of its own network for deliveries.

Royal Mail said it introduced extra sorting capacity with 10 temporary hubs and training for around 19,000 extra staff ahead of the festive period.

CEO Moya Greene said planning for Christmas started in April.

“Our postmen and women delivered a great service over the busy festive period. Royal Mail delivered one of its highest ever quality of service performances for parcel delivery to our customers over the month.”

The firm’s addressed letter volumes were down the three per cent in the nine month period, but this was better than its forecast range for a 4-6 per cent decline per year, mainly due to the improvement in economic conditions.

Letter revenues were flat, compared with a rise of one per cent in the first half, partially due to the diminishing impact of election mailings over the year.

The company has warned that the UK parcels market will grow by much less than expected over the next two years, with the impact of Amazon’s own network reducing the annual rate of growth from a medium term target of four per cent to as little as one per cent for the next two years.

Shares rose three per cent but, just over a year on from its controversial flotation, stand at about 446p, having slumped 28 per cent from their peak in February.