05/21/2015 02:51 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT

Canada Post Swings To Profit, Even As Mail Volume Declines


OTTAWA - Canada Post Group delivered a profit in the first quarter, turning around a loss from the same period last year even as the national postal service faced a steeper decline in the volume of letter mail.

The group, which includes financial results from Canada Post, Purolator and other businesses, reported Thursday a profit before tax of $22 million versus a loss of $37 million in the comparable period a year earlier.

Revenue increased 10 per cent to $2.06 billion from $1.87 billion.

Canada Post's main business, which focuses on letters and parcels, also saw improved results on higher prices for stamps and parcels. That segment of the business saw earnings rise to $24 million before taxes compared with a loss of $27 million a year ago, while revenue grew 6.4 per cent to $1.64 billion.

Letter mail volumes fell 8.4 per cent, or by 41 million pieces, compared with the year-earlier period.

"This trend further reinforces that Canadians are accelerating their adoption of digital means to receive important mail," the postal service said in a statement.

A shift in the Easter holiday meant the quarterly financial period, which ended April 4, covered the three extra business days this year. The difference positively affected Canada Post Group revenue by five per cent but increased operational costs by six per cent, the company said.

Canada Post has been moving ahead with a plan to phase out door-to-door delivery across the country, though the initiative has met with some opposition. Residents and local city officials in both Hamilton and Montreal have squared off against the plan with the postal service, while the postal workers' union has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court calling the service cancellation unconstitutional.

In March, Canada Post said it had converted 100,000 addresses that had door-to-door delivery to community mail boxes in 2014 and planned to convert about 900,000 addresses this year.

The postal service did not provide an update to those figures, but said that "implementation is accelerating and progressing well."

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