SPAR Scotland wholesaler CJ Lang will pull Post Office franchises from 31 stores across its company-owned estate over a six month period.
The Dundee-based wholesaler said it made the decision following 18 months of negotiations with the Post Office. CJ Lang will retain 17 Post Office sites across its company-owned estate. The decision does not affect CJ Lang’s independent retail customers operating under the Spar Scotland fascia brand.
A statement from CJ Lang said: “Following a further consultation period with Post Office Limited it has been confirmed that Post Office services within several Spar stores across Scotland will close later this year. This decision has been carefully considered and comes after 18 months of negotiations with Post Office Limited.
“It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in the position of having to change the services we offer over the next six months.
“As part of the Spar Scotland company-owned stores estate, we will continue to invest in our staff to ensure our stores serve the communities in which they are based. We are constantly reviewing the services within our stores and the impact that Post Office counters have on our overall store operations.
“Unfortunately, in some instances it is not viable for us to continue to offer the service at our sites. We will however continue to operate Post Office counters at several Spar Scotland stores across our network. This is representative of the industry-wide pressures on retail outlets as we evolve to keep up with changing consumer habits.”
A Post Office spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that CJ Lang announced that the Post Office counters they operate on our behalf will close at a number of their stores. The decision to close these counters has been taken solely by CJ Lang.
“Post Offices play an important role in the heart of local communities across Scotland and we have worked closely with CJ Lang for a number of months to help keep open essential Post Office services for their customers. This included working together to develop tailored solutions to address their needs and support them in the challenging retail climate.
“At certain locations, there are nearby alternative Post Office branches, but we recognise that for some particularly older and disabled people they may not be easily accessible. We will look for replacement solutions both on a temporary or permanent basis for those branches that close.
“In total, 31 CJ Lang branches will close and 17 will remain open. We are awaiting formal confirmation about the timescales for the affected branches before we inform local communities impacted.
“Post Offices that operate in Spar Scotland stores or are independent franchises that are part of the wider Spar group are unaffected by this decision and remain open.”
* This article was amended at 17:00 on 9 June to include an updated statement from Post Office. The previous statement referenced Spar Scotland in place of CJ Lang.