13 October 2009 | Allie Anderson
Retailer John Lewis is the latest large company to switch postal suppliers to limit disruption from impending strikes at Royal Mail.
The organisation said yesterday it is to work with other carriers for the time being to avoid delays to its online delivery services.
"We have ensured that postal strikes don't affect our customers by switching the business to other carriers. We work with a number of different carriers for contingency to provide an uninterrupted service," a statement from John Lewis said.
However, it pointed out the change is not permanent. "We move parcels around our carrier network to use the most appropriate carrier, based on service, available capacity and price. If Royal Mail is striking we won't put any parcels through them. But if not and we have total confidence in them, we will do as per our normal strategy."
The adjustment will not lead to increased online prices, the statement added.
Meanwhile, a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that a national postal strike could cost the economy £1.5 billion in the run-up to Christmas and result in average losses of £840 a week for each of the UK's 319,000 retailers.
The study was commissioned by online shopping and price comparison site Kelkoo, which described the planned strikes as a "death wish" for Royal Mail. It said more of its customers were looking to other delivery firms, including Onepost, Citipost and TNT Post UK.
Argos, Amazon and Marks & Spencer are among Royal Mail customers said to be considering alternative postal suppliers (Web news, 12 October
Last week, the Communication Workers Union announced that postal workers voted 76 per cent in favour of a national strike over job security and working conditions. No date has yet been set for the action.