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Postal Service Looks to Close 3,700 Post Offices

The U.S. Postal Service to stamp out 1 in 10 branches to make up for declining revenue.


Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night prevents the delivery of the U.S. mail. But there will be fewer post offices distributing it, the U.S. Postal Service announced today.

The Postal Service has released a list of the 3,700 post offices – about 10 percent of all post offices in the country – that the agency is considering closing to cut its financial losses, CNNMoney reports.

In its 2010 fiscal year, which ended in September, the Postal Service lost $8.5 billion. Postmaster Patrick R. Donahoe estimates that the branch closings could save as much as $200 million. Other cost-cutting measures the agency is considering include ending Saturday delivery and raising stamp prices.

“The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and will continue to drive commerce, service communities and deliver value,” Donahoe said.

Located in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., most of the branches on the chopping block have so little business that workers average less than two hours of work per day and sell less than $50 worth of stamps and services. The closings could put 3,000 postmasters, 500 supervisors and 500 to 1,000 clerks out of work.

The post office closures could give business a boost, the Wall Street Journal notes. In towns that are losing post offices, the U.S. Postal Service plans to contract with small businesses like grocery stores and gas stations to allow them to sell stamps and accept packages. These stores will not offer a full range of postal services, however. The Postal Service may place stand-alone post offices in city halls and libraries.

Shipping competitors like United Parcel Service Inc. also will likely benefit. “Anytime a competitor pulls back access, it's an opportunity,” Kurt Kuehn, chief financial officer for UPS, said in an earnings call. "Clearly, we will look at the gaps that are there.”