NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The bad news just keeps coming for the U.S. Postal Service.
As part of its continuing effort to stop bleeding money, the Postal Service announced Tuesday that it is studying customer demand and considering whether to close as many as 3,700 post offices around the country.
In place of these traditional mail centers, the Postal Service is looking to third-party retailers like supermarkets and office supply stores to cater to the mailing needs of consumers by offering the same services and products.
“Today, more than 35% of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Our customers’ habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”
There are currently some 32,000 post offices operated directly by the Postal Service and another 70,000 locations run by these third-party stores. Ultimately, the operating costs of running so many mailing centers directly may be unsustainable for the Postal Service, which lost more than $8 billion in 2010 and nearly $4 billion the year before that.
In order to cut its losses, the Postal Service has laid off thousands of employees, increased the price of stamps and now is conducting studies to determine which post offices have enough demand to stay open. If this trend continues, the post office of the future may not be a post office at all for many communities, but rather an Office Depot.