An Post has come out denying “baseless rumours” spreading through social media suggesting its The Gift Voucher Shop business is in trouble.
Ireland’s national postal service launched the company with entrepreneur Michael Dawson in 2002, selling store gift vouchers through its post office network, online and via a call centre.
Since 2004 it has been best known for its One4all gift voucher, which can be used in various different retail stores in 5,300 outlets nationwide including Hamleys, Next, M&S, TK Maxx, Argos, Debenhams, Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Woodies DIY, Eason and Lifestyle Sports.
The One4all card, which is underwritten by the Bank of Ireland, has also since been launched in Malta with MaltaPost and in the UK through Post Office Ltd, and is now sold in 17,000 locations in Britain.
But “rumours” have been spread through websites like Twitter and Facebook suggesting that because a number of big retail store chains facing bankruptcy are no longer accepting gift vouchers, The Gift Voucher Shop might now be facing financial difficulties.
One tweet highlighted by One4all read: “One4All rumoured to be going into liquidation tomorrow. Anyone with vouchers might want to get shopping.”
An Post described the rumours as “totally untrue and without foundation”.
The company said it actually recorded a 14% increase in its annual turnover in 2012, bringing in EUR 150m in sales following a similar double-digit growth in each of the past five years.
Post office sales grew by 13% on 2011, while sales at PostPoint outlets such as Topaz and Applegreen service stations were up 31%. Online sales also continued to grow, experiencing a 24% increase overall, and corporate sales to Irish companies providing gift cards as tax-free staff bonuses increased 13%.
After “steady” sales over Christmas, An Post also claimed the business was “on track for continued growth” in 2013, despite the dent to public confidence in gift vouchers after retail chains like HMV and Jessops stopped accepting them last month, as the consequence of going into administration.
In its statement, An Post told its Irish customers: “An Post assures all GVS customers that One4all Gift Cards and Vouchers continue to be fully redeemable in over 5,300 retail outlets nationwide.”
The Irish postal service said that because its One4all Gift Card was issued by the Bank of Ireland, regulations require that the company keep funds from the sale of gift cards in a separate client fund account. This means that unlike the cases of HMV and Jessops, consumers would not be in danger of losing the funds they pay for the cards.
“This provides full and total protection of all consumer funds and makes the One4all Gift Card one of the most secure gift cards in the market,” said An Post.
Source: Post&Parcel/An Post/One4all