Norway Post said 170 more post office counters will open within partner retail stores in 2013 and 2014.
The national postal operator has just awarded 146 contracts to run postal services in-store, while a further 24 contracts are set to be offered up in a bidding process later this quarter.
The national postal operator said the current state of play sees all major supermarket chains set to run postal counters in their stores, along with a number of independent retailers.
The Post said when it’s done, its retail network should include 30 post offices run in-house and 1,400 run in the retail outlets of partners.
Contracts being offered run for three-year periods, with options to extend a further two years.
Dag Mejdell, the Norway Post chief executive, said: “Interest in providing in-store services has been great, and with these contract awards we will provide excellent and innovative services in line with customer needs.”
Mejdell said in total, Norway Post would have 3,000 customer access points of various kinds in its network. “No one else has such a dense access network in Norway,” he said.
Post i butikk
Norway Post has transferred more than 700 post offices to the partner-run in-store “Post i butikk” outlets over the past decade, to cut costs and respond to changing customer trends.
The Norwegian Parliament gave the go ahead last year for 149 post offices to be replaced by in-store counters, almost wiping out Norway Post’s in-house retail presence.
The Post has seen a huge fall in demand for postal banking services, with more Norwegians now accessing their bank accounts online.
But, the transfer of post offices to supermarkets and other retail establishments also suits the growth in Internet shopping, with retail partners able to offer longer opening hours than post offices.
The company said the use of the post office has changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years.
“Growing online shopping means customers want longer opening hours,” said Mejdell. “In-store has been a success since its establishment more than 10 years ago – long opening hours make it easier to pick up and deliver packages.”
Norway Post said its decision on where to establish in-store postal counters was made after careful consideration of costs, location and the store’s ability to perform the service.
Expectations are for the full implementation of the in-store additions to be completed by the end of 2014, the company said.
Separately, Norway Post is currently seeking proposals from banks to offer certain financial services through its network.
The Post said preferably it wants to enter into an exclusive agreement with a single banking partner for a period up to 2020.
Initial proposals are due in by 31st January, with a full tender process expected later this year.
Source: Post&Parcel/Norway Post