For a few years Royal Mail plc was delivering like the worst postie in the depot, parcels marked fragile launched over hedges, letters delivered to the wrong houses and so on, as it really struggled to modernise the business.
Now, helped by the massive growth in parcels being sent during the pandemic, it finally seems to be getting its act together.
“Royal Mail’s latest update showed the firm is continuing to drive efficiencies with plans to cut a further 700 management jobs,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“The decline in parcel volumes year-on-year is only to be expected given tough comparative figures to beat as a year earlier nearly all retail stores were shuttered thanks to Covid restrictions, meaning demand for online orders soared.
“Perhaps more important is the fact the company maintained its share of a highly competitive market and it remains confident that, as we emerge from the pandemic, the amount of parcels being sent will remain permanently higher, thanks to a structural shift in the way people buy goods.
“It’s not all positive news. Royal Mail has seen a substantial increase in the number of complaints as deliveries have faced big delays in recent weeks.
“In fairness at least some of this can be attributed to a factor entirely out of its control as the Omicron variant left many of its workers sick and unable to work.
“In streamlining the business, Royal Mail needs to ensure it doesn’t go too far and diminish its operational capability or spark widespread industrial action, the threat of which has hung over the business in the past.
“Outside of the UK, Royal Mail’s GLS international parcel courier division continues to make solid progress, and perhaps at some point suggestions that this part of the group might be spun off could be revived.”