Slow retail activity hampers Swiss Post profits in third quarter

Swiss Post has reported a 3% decline in its profits for the third quarter of the year because of a decline in its over-the-counter business. The postal service said it generated a Group profit of CHF 721m ($806m USD), compared to the CHF 741m ($828m USD) achieved in the same period in 2010.

Revenues fell 1.3% year-on-year to CHF 6,299m ($7.04bn USD).

However, while its retail business slowed, Swiss Post insisted it did see “good results” generally in all four of its market areas.

Volumes of addressed domestic letters remained stable, with the PostMail unit bringing in a slightly increased CHF 136m profit on slightly lower revenues of CHF 1,877m compared to the same period last year. Swiss Post International saw slightly lower profits and revenues of respectively CHF 32m and CHF 563m. Mailroom services unit Swiss Post Solutions saw profit down 20% to CHF 5m on a CHF 401m revenue that was 18% down on last year’s third quarter.

A fall in the number of customers paying bills or mailing letters and parcels at postal counters saw Swiss Post’s communications market division as a whole – including mail activities – reducing profits by 32% to CHF 61m for the quarter on a revenue of CHF 3,479m. Swiss Post is currently trying out a new kind of integrated post office to cope with the fall in retail demand while catering towards increased demand for financial services.

Swiss Post’s logistics division saw profits decline by 6.4% to CHF 103m on a CHF 1,046m revenue thanks to a 1.4% decline in parcel volumes and higher staff benefit costs.

A higher level of customer deposits saw the company’s financial services unit posting a 2% increase in profits, to CHF 464m on a CHF 1,839m revenue, while Swiss Post’s transport division, PostBus, achieved a 15.4% growth in profit to CHF 30m on a CHF 530m revenue.

Swiss Post said its headcount fell by 868 year-on-year to 44,216.

New warehouse

Meanwhile, Swiss Post held an official opening last week for a new logistics centre is has been operating in the Basel area since the summer.

The 16,300 square metre facility at Pratteln replaces the company’s two logistics centres in Muttenz and Arlesheim. It provides a range of logistics services from bulk storage and small parts management to labelling, price labelling and shrink-wrapping.

It has rail connections for up to six rail cars, and from early next year will offer temperature-controlled and hazardous goods capabilities.

Swiss Post currently operates 10 warehouses across Switzerland with a total space of 134,000 square metres.

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