If, in English, post office is the translation of the French bureau de poste, the British Post Offices have the particularity to be separated from their mother-home the Royal Mail since the 1980s. The Post Office Ltd., even if controlled by the Royal Mail Group, is in fact an independent company that must be profitable at the end of the year. No compensation through the benefits of the mail transport can balance the post offices' budget. The British Government tries to make them both profitable.
In London, you can see quickly how a Post Office wants to be profitable. Across the Saint-Pancras Station (and I forgot to take pictures, I am an amateur in press reporting), I thought first it was one of the many multi-services stores you can find anywhere in the British capitale. From the street, you can see on the windows flyers fot phone cards, insurances and international money tranfers, a fridge full of beverage, chocolate candies, a phocopy machine. But, no visible postal things: no special stamps put in evidence, no queue of people bringing mail,...
The Notting Hill mini-market I entered for a fruit juice before going to my hotel the night before could have easily replace this Post Office. And, it is what the British Government prepared more and more for rural areas and the less dense urban zones: itinering service, non itinering service installed once a week in a non-postal shop, permanent service by a non postmal commerce, limit of one post office per a certain number of inhabitants.
I have already written about this topic of the post offices and services' rentability, and their consequences for postmen and common people sending or receiving mail. Sincerely, because I have always been living in very dense urban areas where pure postal post office (even philatelic specialized post offices) are available, I don't know what to think of these evolutions.