// Research finds visits to Post Offices help drive 400m visitors to other shops & local businesses
// Post Offices also provided an estimated £1.1bn in additional revenue for high streets
// 43% of small businesses say they would not be able to continue functioning without Post Offices
New research has revealed how much of a vital role Post Offices play in high streets, providing a boost of more than £1 billion for surrounding retailers and businesses.
The Public First research, commissioned by the Post Office, found that 33 per cent of respondents said that on their last trip to the Post Office they had stopped at another shop, café, pub or restaurant.
This resulted in an additional 400 million visitors to these local businesses, generating £1.1 billion in additional revenue.
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The research also showed that 82 per cent of the public see local Post Offices as an essential service, with young people valuing it almost as much as older people.
Summing up just how important the local Post Office is, it came out as the top choice when respondents were asked what would make up their ideal high street – far ahead of stalwarts like a supermarket or a GP’s surgery
Small retailers also rely on Post Offices to keep their businesses functioning – with 43 per cent of small businesses saying they would not survive without a local branch.
There are 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK with around 4000 open seven days a week.
Small online retailers and other businesses that are based from home offices use their branch to drop off parcels to fulfil customer orders.
Independent retailers also depend on a branch to deposit a day’s takings.
“Local post offices are a lifeline for communities across the UK as they are the place to go to do everyday banking or send parcels,” Post Office chief executive Nick Read said.
“We are an essential retailer and will remain open wherever possible during these recently introduced lockdown restrictions.
“The footfall we generate could make a big difference to sustaining high streets over the long term and helping small businesses start and grow, contributing to economic recovery across the UK.”
Other elements in the Public First research found that 60 per cent of small businesses agreed that Post Offices are important to their business, and 72 per cent said the Post Office was particularly important for them.
When small businesses were asked how long they would be able to function without the Post Office, 43 per cent said they would only be able to keep going for a few months at most; and 32 per cent only a few weeks.
Public First said this was the equivalent to a fifth (22 per cent) of the entire UK economy, or a quarter (26 per cent) of jobs.
Meanwhile, 83 per cent of small businesses agreed that the Post Office had been important to their business during the first lockdown period earlier this year, as they’re classed as essential retailers.