The U.S. Postal Service, bidding for more small business shipping to shore up declining mail volume, struck a deal with retailer Office Depot to have postal products and services at more than a thousand stores around the country.
The agreement is the Postal Service's first with a national retailer and rivals pacts the private express carriers have signed to offer their services at store outlets.
"Small businesses, especially, will be able to compare shipping companies side by side and see for themselves that Postal Service prices are very competitive and affordable," said Susan Plonkey acting president for mailing and shipping services at the USPS.
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Under the agreement, Office Depot will stock postal delivery materials, including Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, at its 1,083 stores and make services including Priority Mail and Express available at the sites.
The deal comes as the USPS is coping with a steep decline in mail volume that fed a $3.5 billion loss in the most recent fiscal quarter. The USPS is trying to reduce costs, partly by shuttering some post offices, and seeking new routes to business customers.