retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Associated Press reports that the US Postal Service (USPS) had a $2.7 billion loss during the just-completed fiscal year, which was “better than a $5.6 billion loss in the prior year but was mainly due to fluctuations in interest rates that reduced workers' compensation expenses.”

It was 11th straight year of losses for the USPS.

The story points out that annual revenue was $69.6 billion, down from $71.5 billion a year earlier. “The 2017 loss came after a double-digit increase in package delivery was unable to offset drop-offs in letter mail, which makes up more than 70 percent of total postal revenue. Mail volume fell by roughly 5 billion pieces, or 3.6 percent, as people in the digital age rely more on email for online bill payments.”

The AP story notes that the USPS continues to look for operating relief, whether in the form of the ability to raise stamp prices beyond the cost of inflation, or a change in the mandate that requires it to pre-fund retiree health benefits.
KC's View:
I pick on the Post Office a lot, but in all fairness, it seems to me that they’re handcuffed in a lot of ways when it comes to competing.

I think what they really ought to do is hire someone like Jim Donald or Ron Johnson to come in and make enormous changes in how they compete. Bringing a little competitive, private sector juice to the endeavor could make all the difference.

It did in Ireland, where Feargal Quinn made an enormous difference. That was decades ago, though, and the competitive pressures are very different now. But not, I think, insurmountable.