Rush on stamps in Gloucestershire to beat price hike
THOUSANDS of stamps are being snapped up in Gloucester as businesses try to beat a price hike.
Royal Mail has imposed a national cap on the number of stamps shops are able to purchase, to try to prevent businesses stockpiling them before the increase comes into effect on April 30.
And at Hardwicke Post Office in Quedgeley, they said business owners had been panic buying – with orders of as many as 10,000 a time.
The price of a first-class stamp will go from 46p to 60p, while second-class stamps are due to increase from 36p to 50p.
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With just over two weeks before costs go up, post offices in Gloucester have reported a noticeable rise in the number of stamps being ordered, with individual purchases running into the thousands.
A spokesman for Hardwicke Post Office in Quedgeley said: "We have definitely noticed an increase in stamp sales.
"We have had some big orders, with one of 10,000 coming in recently and several more in the thousands.
"People will be stocking up, as it makes a big difference.
"People are panic buying."
The cap is 20 per cent of each retailer's annual allocation and is a bid to "protect revenue" and prevent shops stockpiling and cashing in on the higher prices, said Royal Mail.
Spokesman James Eadie insisted the revenue from the increase was needed to maintain the six-day postal service.
"We do have a sensible allocation in place so that individual retailers can pre-order in advance of the price rise, based on their normal full year expectations of demand," he said.
"These allocations are in place for all retailers so we can balance the customer demand with the need to protect Royal Mail's revenues. This is a prudent and appropriate policy.
"Our priority is to ensure that the proceeds from this much needed price rise go to sustain the six-day-a-week service which has been loss making for some time."
County businesses however have spoken out against the increase. Mark Owen, managing director of Gloucester-based Moose Marketing and PR, and chair of the city's Federation of Small Businesses, criticised the move.
He said: "Moose send out three-and-a-half thousand magazines every other month, and the price increase means that it adds an extra £550 each time, which works out at an extra £3,000 a year.
"That's an extra burden to the company, or for us to pass on to our customers.
"We will be absorbing this cost ourselves, but it makes sense for people to go out and buy them up before the cost increases."