The USPS Summer Mail Sale is a Go

The Summer Sale is On. The U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors in early May gave the USPS the green light for its proposed summer postage reduction for Standard Mail rates. The Postal Rate Commission is expected to make a decision in mid-June.

By May 4, eligible Standard mailers should have received letters from the Postal Service that provide the threshold as determined by USPS data systems. Here are some specifics on the mail sale.

  • The sale will run from July 1, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2009.

  • Marketers who mailed more than 1 million Standard letters and/or flats from Oct. 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008, are eligible to participate in the sale. (About 3,250 mailers account for 75% of Standard Mail volume.)

  • Mailers will receive a rebate of 30% on any mail volume in that period that is over the past threshold.

  • Standard mailers’ rebates will be adjusted if their October 2009 mail volume is less than their October 2008 mail volume.

How the USPS will determine the rebates is a bit more complicated. The Postal Service in early May established a docket for the summer sale rates proposal.

You can find a link to a PDF of the specifics on the Postal Regulatory Commission’s Website (www.prc.gov); look for Docket No. R2009-3.

Mailers will pay full postage during the summer. After Oct. 31, 2009, the USPS will determine the rebate each mailer is due. Rebates will be credited to the mailer’s permit account before Dec. 31, 2009.

Northern Safety Co., a cataloger of industrial supplies, qualifies for the sale, and “will be mailing incrementally more during that period,” says president Neil Sexton. How much more? Northern Safety is still working on those numbers, he says.

The summer mail sale is “great progress,” says Stan Krangel, president/CEO for gifts cataloger Miles Kimball. “I am excited that the Postal Service is moving forward to find ways to grow catalogs.”

As an industry, “we are in a survival mode, and desperately need help to drive our business back,” Krangel says.

So will Miles Kimball get in on the sale? “My team is working aggressively to get an answer, but it is more complex than you might think,” he says. “Our results from last year are guiding us to move circulation later in the year.”

Another problem is the lead times for the mail sale, “which will not allow us to be in stock on imports within the timeframe to fully take advantage of the rates for the full period,” Krangel notes.

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