The Government’s announcement of £1.3 billion funding towards the reform of the Post Office network will further increase demand for businesses in the sector, according to Christie + Co, the leading property agent.
The funding, which will be introduced over the next four years, will lead to longer opening hours, allow customers to access their current accounts and offer information for jobseekers. At the same time, the Government also announced that there would be no new closure programme for the current network of 11,500 branches.
Christie + Co believes these new measures will bring security to the network and will generate further interest in post office business and also combi-sites, where a post office counter is housed in a convenience store or newsagents.
From its own transactional evidence, Christie + Co has seen a 20% increase in the number of post office businesses it has sold in the year to date, compared to the same period in 2009.
Tony Evans, Head of Retail at Christie + Co, said: “We believe the impact of these new measures will have the same positive impact on the demand to acquire post offices, as the cancellation of the tender process for the Post Office Card Account (POCA) and the conclusion of the consultation process for ‘Network Change’ had at the end of 2008.
“Both these measures led to a rise in the interest shown in operating a post office and we believe this new promise of funding for reform by the Government will have the same effect. Post Offices continue to play a key role in community life and present an ideal opportunity for people who are looking for a change, or who have been made redundant in the present climate. We have completed a number of post office-related deals over the last 12 months, and expect this positive trend to continue into the New Year.”
Christie + Co recently sold the freehold of the Old Town Post Office in Eastbourne, East Sussex, to a Mr D’Souza, an experienced local operator, for an undisclosed sum, off a guide price of £275,000.
Christie + Co is currently marketing a number of post offices for sale across the UK, which would be of interest to a wide range of potential buyers.