Royal Mail delivery offices opening on Sundays
Royal Mail has launched a trial scheme with the opening of 100 of its busiest delivery offices UK-wide on Sundays.
The company will also begin to offer Sunday parcel deliveries but this will be in the London area only.
Allowing customers to collect parcels on a Sunday for the first time is the latest in a number of changes introduced by the company.
Royal Mail, which was part-privatised last year, is facing competition from business rivals such Amazon.
Royal Mail said its decision to open some delivery offices on Sundays would make it easier for people who shop online, but are not normally home during the day, to get their goods.
The offices, which are located across the UK, will be open between 12:00 and 16:00 on Sundays. The company is also launching some Sunday delivery services, to addresses within the M25 area.
Royal Mail spokesman Mike Newnham said it was about making things easier for customers.
"In the last year or so we've launched our Delivery to Neighbour service, we've opened up about 600 of our delivery offices on a Wednesday evening to provide more convenience, and also we've launched the country's largest click-and-collect service in conjunction with the Post Office," he said.
Royal Mail's Delivery to Neighbour service involves items being delivered to a neighbouring address for collection if the intended recipient is not at home.
Parcel deliveries account for more than half of Royal Mail's revenues but it is facing increasing competition from rival operators such as online retailer Amazon which began offering Sunday deliveries earlier this year.
Analysts believe the growing popularity of so-called click-and-collect services, which allow goods to be ordered online before being picked up at local stores or collection points, is also having a significant effect on the parcels business.
Last month, Royal Mail said it was bringing forward the final collection times at thousands of post boxes in order to save money.
Royal Mail's network of about 1,400 delivery offices is currently open six days a week.
Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: "We are continuing to be more customer responsive and provide more options for people to receive items they have ordered online.
"I am delighted to pilot Sunday afternoon opening at around 100 of our delivery offices across the UK with the highest parcel volumes, and Sunday deliveries to addresses within the M25 motorway."