By now, most are aware of the financial difficulties at the USPS. Just a short time ago, the mail service announced it was going to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and last year, it announced the closure of several offices. Its debt continues to mount and its revenues are uncertain, due to technology and other factors.
Now, it looks like the US Postal Service has found a way to improve its financial condition, at least a little bit. The service is going to launch a clothing line. Yes, a line of clothing featuring the US Postal Service name, logos, etc. will be coming to stores in 2014. The mail service has partnered with a Cleveland, Ohio based clothing company named The Wahconah Group and they plan to offer assorted men’s apparel first with women’s clothing coming to stores shortly afterward.
The first impression many will have when they think about the US Postal Service offering its own line of clothing is that it will consist of simple t-shirts, hats, shorts, and possibly button down shirts and jackets similar to those worn by the mail carriers. But this new line is not going to be like that. It will include higher- end apparel intended for sale at specialty stores and more fashion- conscious department stores. Sold under the brand Rain, Heat & Snow, the apparel will be more stylish than many would imagine, yet priced more affordably than other high- end clothing.
This will not be the first time the US Postal Service has ventured into the clothing business. Many might recall a few years back when the USPS sold t-shirts, ties, and even coffee mugs displaying its name and various logos through its own post offices for a reasonable price. Today’s announced offering is different, not just in the type of items offered for sale, but also in the selling of the goods. The local post office won’t be selling the shirts and pants. They will be sold instead by actual retail stores, greatly broadening the distribution and, hopefully, the total sales.
Financial times have been difficult for the US Postal Service and few truly believe that the sale of suits and blouses emblazoned with the USPS logo is going to pull the government- related business out of its financial doldrums. But you have to give the mail delivery service some credit for trying. Its hands are tied due to legal restrictions and business opportunities are few. Dressing up like the guy who places bills in my wall- mounted Ecco mail receptacle doesn’t sound very appealing to me, but it will be interesting to see how this business venture plays out and exactly how much cash the USPS reaps from the deal when the fashion line is launched next year.
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