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Royal Mail has announced a £75 million investment programme for its UK express parcels business, creating 1,000 jobs.
The expansion is part of Royal Mail Group's strategy to grow its parcels businesses in the UK and overseas.
In the last reported financial year, its parcels businesses accounted for almost half of the group's revenues, excluding the Post Office, and online retailing is expected to continue increasing.
A new parcel processing centre will be opened in Chorley in autumn mext year, two new depots will be opened in Cornwall and Hampshire, with a further nine existing depots expanded or moved to larger sites over the next four years.
Royal Mail Group's chief executive Moya Greene said:
''Our £75 million investment is part of Royal Mail Group's strategy to grow its parcels businesses in the UK and overseas.
''Our strategy is to convert the rise in parcel volumes into profitable growth. That means becoming a much more customer-focused company being run on commercial lines and investing in new, vital technology.
''The investment will enable Royal Mail Group's express parcels business to meet the rapid growth in demand in the business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer markets.''
Mark Hoban, Fareham MP and minister for employment, said:
''It is great news that 1,000 new jobs will be created across the country as a result of this investment. We've now got a record number of people in employment and these jobs will provide welcome opportunities for people who are looking for work.''