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Trading statements

Royal Mail addressed letters continues to fall

18 July 2017 07:25

Royal Mail reported UKPIL revenue was down 1%, with parcel revenue up 3% and total letter revenue down 4% in the three months ended 25 June 2017.

Parcel volumes were up 5%, with growth driven by a good performance in Royal Mail account parcels where we have won new contracts and gained more traffic from existing customers. In particular, Royal Mail Tracked services saw strong volume growth of 39%.

Our international parcels business benefitted from a new initiative to attract cross-border traffic3 from Asia into Europe. This accounted for nearly 2 percentage points of the volume growth and 1 percentage point of the revenue growth in the period.

International volume trends continued to reflect the relative weakness in Sterling, with slowing imports (outside of our cross-border initiative) and improving contract export volumes, compared with the prior period.

Parcelforce Worldwide also saw an improvement in recent trends with volumes up nearly 1% in the period.

Total parcel revenue was up 3%, reflecting the mix within the domestic and international traffic channels.

Addressed letter volumes decreased by 6% (excluding the impact of political parties' election mailings). Volumes benefitted from certain mailings associated with the 2017 General Election, which had around a 1 percentage point positive impact on the movement.

Total letter revenue was down 4%, benefitting from higher than expected revenue associated with the UK political parties' 2017 General Election mailings.

We do not report marketing mail revenue on a quarterly basis due to the timing of the required survey data. However, at this early stage in the year, the revenue trend in our main advertising products (retail addressed, unaddressed and access advertising letters) remains the same as last year.

GLS continued to perform strongly. Revenue growth was achieved in all its main markets, with strong growth in many markets, including Italy.

Including the impact of the recent acquisitions, GLS revenue was up around 18% on a constant currency basis in the period.

Performance in the period reflects the timing of Easter and other public holidays across Europe. Excluding this impact, underlying volume and revenue movements would have been around 4 percentage points higher. This impact is expected to be around 2 percentage points for the full year.

ASM, acquired in June 2016, is performing well ahead of expectations and is being integrated into GLS Spain.

In the United States, GSO, which we acquired 9 months ago, is performing in line with expectations. On 6 April 2017, we announced the acquisition of Postal Express, an overnight parcel delivery company operating throughout the Pacific Northwest of the United States, for $13.3m. Postal Express will be integrated into GSO. Moya Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Mail, said: "Overall, we have had a good start to our financial year.

"Group revenue was up 1%, driven by another strong performance in GLS. This more than offset a 1% decline in UKPIL revenue.

"GLS continues to be a driving force for the Group. Its ongoing, focussed international expansion is increasing our geographic diversification, scale and reach.

"In UK parcels, our quality of service and improved product offerings are driving high levels of customer satisfaction and attracting new customers and higher volumes.

"Our performance in letters was better than we expected, despite continued business uncertainty in the UK.

"We remain on track to deliver our cost avoidance and net cash investment targets for the full year."


Overall, our trading performance in the first three months of the financial year was good.

GLS continues to perform strongly and is driving forward its international expansion. UK parcels performed well underlining our position as the UK's leading delivery company.

We continue to monitor the impact of overall business uncertainty in the UK on letter volumes.

Our cost avoidance programme is on track to deliver around £190m of UKPIL operating costs avoided in 2017-18. We expect that our total net cash investment will be around £450m this year.

Our outlook for UK letters and parcels trends and other guidance is unchanged from that set out in our financial results for the full year ended 26 March 2017.

The results for the half year ending 24 September 2017 are expected to be announced on Thursday 16 November 2017.

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