Bpost published its new strategic vision “Connect 2026” on Tuesday. We can read there, among other objectives, that the public company listed on the stock exchange wants to “create additional and paying proximity services” and this, in a concern to “contribute significantly to social cohesion.”
In a more detailed presentation, Bpost specifies somewhat what these nearby paid services could be. In particular, the company is considering offering access to scanning or printing services for people who are uncomfortable with digital technologies and evokes the maintenance of the availability of basic banking services while banks are still cutting more in their network of agencies.
But Bpost goes further: in rural areas where there is no more commerce, post offices could become a local one-stop-shop offering food, products that are bought on impulse (such as the sweets often offered to boxes, Editor’s note), newspapers or other products, it is estimated.
The CEO of Bpost clarified the idea in several newspapers on Wednesday. “No, our offices are not going to become supermarkets. I think more of impulse buying. But in my eyes it is above all a question of services rendered, ”he said in the columns of Tijd. “We can use our network for other services. With confinement, people are living more and more distant from each other, ”he adds.
In Flanders, Buurtsuper.be, which is part of the employers’ organization Unizo and defends the interests of convenience stores, has fallen out of its hinges. “Mind-blowing,” she said in a statement, believing that Bpost “could start by paying the local shops already there correctly for the fact that they keep the packages while waiting for customers to come and pick them up. Convenience stores are inundated with packages, but they don’t get much from them because Bpost charges very low prices. But these stores do it all the same, in service to their customers. ”
The organization immediately denounces a “lack of respect for entrepreneurship.”
Also in Flanders, the president of the Open Vld, Egbert Lachaert, is also very critical. “A public enterprise should not compete with small independents and traders who pay taxes to finance the same public enterprise. Fundamentally disloyal! ”He tweeted on Wednesday.