Royal Mail de­liv­ers 800m fewer let­ters in Zoom surge

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Oliver Gill

LOCK­DOWN failed to launch a re­vival of let­ter writ­ing as sep­a­rated fam­i­lies em­braced the in­ter­net to stay in touch.

Bri­tons sent al­most 800 mil­lion fewer let­ters dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, Royal Mail re­vealed – and the trend has shown no sign of re­ver­sal as re­stric­tions ease.

By con­trast, user num­bers at Zoom, the tele­con­fer­enc­ing firm, rock­eted from 659,000 users in Jan­uary to 13 mil­lion by April as friends and fam­i­lies sought new ways to main­tain con­tact.

Growth in Royal Mail’s par­cel busi­ness has failed to off­set a col­lapse in let­ter vol­umes, leav­ing the com­pany strug­gling to make up lost ground.

Ad­dressed let­ter vol­umes fell 33pc be­tween March 30 and June 28. The 788 mil­lion de­cline is equiv­a­lent to 8.9 mil­lion fewer let­ters a day and does not in­clude the im­pact of can­celled lo­cal elec­tions.

It is thought that a plunge in busi­ness ac­tiv­ity and fears about the virus spread­ing on en­velopes are likely to have been be­hind the fall.

The for­mer FTSE 100 com­pany said: “Ad­ver­tis­ing mail in Royal Mail con­tin­ues to be im­pacted by... low lev­els of busi­ness ac­tiv­ity.”

Royal Mail was plunged into a cri­sis last month af­ter boss Rico Back stepped down less than two years since tak­ing over at the helm.

Keith Wil­liams, the for­mer Bri­tish Air­ways chief who is also charged with a re­view of the rail­ways, took con­trol as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man af­ter Mr Back’s de­par­ture.

There is grow­ing City spec­u­la­tion over the in­ten­tions of Czech bil­lion­aire Daniel Kretinsky, an ac­tivist in­vestor who last week lifted his stake in Royal Mail to 12.1pc.

Mr Kretinsky is now Royal Mail’s sec­ond-largest in­vestor af­ter fund man­age Schroders.

Keith Wil­liams be­came ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Royal Mail last month

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