13 November 2003 | Tom Lloyd
Direct marketing companies, which make up a sixth of the Royal Mail's business by value, could stop using the supplier if further strikes are threatened.
David Robottom, director of development and postal affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, told SM: "Any industrial action will force companies to look at their service provision."
Michael Howe, agency head at London-based direct marketing agency 100% Direct Marketing, said that more strikes would cause "major problems".
A spokeswoman for Royal Mail acknowledged that it would lose business because of the strikes, but said it was too soon to know how much.
"Each time there is a strike we lose a chunk of business," she said. "Competition is coming to the UK. Business customers do have alternatives they can use."
Tom Mills, logistics analyst at Datamonitor, said many large firms were saying they wouldn't use Royal Mail in the future.
"The ongoing problems at Royal Mail play into its competitors' hands," he said.
Already 30 per cent of the market by value is open and licences have been issued to a number of companies, including TPG UK, UK Mail and Arla Foods, which used to be called Express Dairies, and uses its milk distribution network to deliver post.
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