With the new strategic vision “Connect”, Bpost wants to expand the social role of the postal company. One of the items on the table is a larger supply in post offices. According to CEO Jean-Paul Van Avermaet, you should be able to buy groceries, newspapers and sweets there too. “Hallucinant”, says Buurtsuper.be, the branch organization of the neighborhood supermarkets, labels the plans.
Bpost has Tuesday reveal the new strategic vision. For example, the postal company will address profit distribution in such a way that there is some less dividend is. Bpost wants to put more profit into investments. The company relates to the social role it plays.
Retail offices can be more than just a post office, as shown in the presentation of the plans. The company mentions a social approach where nobody can be left out. For this reason, post offices can also offer services such as copies or scans or the basic banking service which is still available through the subsidiary Bpost Bank.
And in rural areas where commercial or other services are no longer available, “Post offices can use local authorities One stop shop these diet, impulse products (Unplanned purchases such as candy at the cash register, ed.) Press and other products ”. Income from such activities can provide an alternative to the declining income from traditional mail. Van Avermaet said on Wednesday: “No, our offices will not be a supermarket. I think more of impulse buying. But for me it’s mostly about the service. “
Unizo organization Buurtsuper.be Definitely breaks the plans. “Perhaps they can start correctly reimbursing the pre-existing local businesses for the packages they are keeping until the customer comes to collect them. Local businesses are buried under parcels, but they don’t make much from it because Bpost uses very low prices. And yet these businesses do this as a service to their customers, ”says Luc Ardies in a press release.
The industry organization denounces a “lack of respect for entrepreneurship”. The idea of expanding the offer in rural areas makes no sense. “Here in Flanders we are already leading in Europe in terms of the number of stores per inhabitant. If a company that is government subsidized to supply free newspapers and other press products is also going to compete with the neighborhood supermarkets and newsagents, what do we do? “Says Ardies.
The Open VLD chairman Egbert Lachaert also criticizes the plans. “A state company shouldn’t compete with the small self-employed and trader who pays taxes to fund the same state company. Basically unfair, ”says the chairman of the Flemish Liberals via Twitter.