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Published: Tuesday, 7/26/2011

After losing $8 billion last year, Postal Service to consider closing 3,600 retail outlets

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- The Postal Service is considering closing more than one in 10 of its retail outlets.

The financially troubled agency was announcing Tuesday that it will study more than 3,600 local offices, branches and stations for possible closing.

Currently the post office operates more than 31,000 retail outlets across the country, down from 38,000 a decade ago, but in recent years business has declined sharply as first-class mail moved to the Internet. In addition, the recession resulted in a decline in advertising mail, and the agency lost $8 billion last year.

Most of the offices that face review are in rural areas, but postal officials say they are looking into alternative service, such as locating offices in local businesses, town halls or community centers.

In those cases the so-called Village Post Office would replace one to be closed.

Coming under review doesn't necessarily mean an office will close. The post office announced in January it was reviewing 1,400 offices for closing. So far 280 have been closed and 200 have finished the review process and will remain open.

Once an office is selected for a review, people served by that office will have 60 days to file their comments. If an office is to be closed, they will be able to appeal to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.

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