Royal Mail delivered 130 million parcels over Christmas

An employee carries a bag of mail alongside a a van at Royal Mail's Mount Pleasant Mail Centre on December 21, 2015 in London, England. This week is expected to be the busiest of the year for Royal Mail as they deal with deliveries in the run up to Christmas. (Photo by )Carl Court/Getty ImagesAn employee carries a bag of mail alongside a a van at Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant Mail Centre on December 21, 2015 in London, England.

Royal Mail did well at Christmas.

The postal service put out an update for the 9 months to December 27 on Thursday, saying “trading in the period fully met our expectations.”

The highlight looks like Christmas, which delivered as expected for Royal Mail. The company delivered 130 million parcels in December, 6% more than last year.

Christmas is obviously a crucial period for Royal Mail, as people are sending Christmas cards, ordering presents online, and sending gifts to loved ones elsewhere in the world — there’s a lot of potential business to be had.

Royal Mail hired 19,000 temporary staff over Christmas to cope with the expected boost in business and it looks like they didn’t go to waste.

Here are the other key numbers from the update:

  • Revenue up 1%;
  • UK parcels, international, and letters revenue down 1%;
  • Parcels volume up 4% and revenue up 1%;
  • Letter volumes down 3%, excluding election mail, and revenues down 2%;
  • General logistics systems volume up 11% and revenue up 10%.

Royal Mail says forecasts for the full-year remain unchanged, with one upward revision in fact — it doesn’t expect margins to decline in its general logistics business now thanks to its strong performance.

The one blot on an otherwise strong report card is a €55.1 million (£40.2 million) fine from French regulators over antitrust law breaches. Royal Mail says the fine is fully covered by its balance sheet.

Royal Mail is also upping its game when it comes to competing with same-day delivery services such as Amazon Prime. The company bought same day delivery specialist eCourier in November and in December bought NetDispatch, which makes parcel management and labelling software.

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