Parcelforce Starts Seven-Day Delivery Service
Parcelforce, the express parcels business of Royal Mail, will today become the first national parcels carrier in Britain to deliver on Sundays.
The business said it anticipates the new service will be of particular benefit to online shoppers.
Among the first retailers to sign up is the department store Fortnum and Mason.
Iain Anderson, director of communications agency Cicero Group, said the move was about Royal Mail "sharpening up its act".
He told Sky News: "This is all about parcels not letters and what Royal Mail really see as an opportunity to hold onto market share.
"There is a lot of competition and seven-day trading is about making sure they maintain and, if they can, grow their market share.
"The significance of this is that by 2017 the vast majority of revenues and profits are going to be coming from parcels.
"This is all about making sure they can continue that trajectory because the letters business, for all mail providers with the growth of email, is in long-term decline."
The Communication Workers Union said it had reached an agreement that Sunday working would be voluntary, while negotiations will be held on new shift patterns.
National officer Terry Pullinger said: "Talks with Parcelforce management established a very important principle as far as employment security is concerned and we are delighted that we have had an assurance that permanent employees will be used to deliver this new exciting innovation to customers."