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Post Office to Increase Price of First-Class Stamps

Stock up on the first-class stamps now and save yourself the hassle of buying extra postage in May.

For the second time in less than a year, the price of a first-class stamp will increase.

On May 12, the cost will rise 1 cent to 42 cents.

The slightly more expensive stamp will be sold in coils of 100, 3,000 or 10,000 on April 18 and individually or in sheets on April 22.

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Mike Cannone, spokesman for San Diego Postal District, said the impact of the rate change will be softer this year than in years past because of the so-called “Forever” stamp. The stamp can be purchased at current rates and used after rate increases.

“Come get them before the rates change on May 12. They are just going to cost you 41 cents and you can use them on mailing that requires 42 cents, and we have plenty.”

The USPS reports there are 5 million Forever stamps and countless 1-cent stamps in stock.

Cannone said he anticipates an increase in foot traffic in local post offices in late April and early to mid-May.

He said millions of residents and businesses can stock up now to save themselves the hassle later.

Steve Goble, vice president of marketing and communications for San Diego-based franchise company PostalAnnex+, said the franchise’s 66 retail postage stores in San Diego are ready for the rate change.

Goble said the franchise, which sells packaging and serves as a shipping center, as well as offering Web site services, will offer free 1-cent stamps on the first day of the rate change.

He added that the PostalAnnex+ is ready with software updates for its computer systems to accommodate rate changes by the USPS.

Palo Alto-based Endicia, an online postage vendor, is also ready for the postage rate changes. Harry Whitehouse, Endicia chief development officer, said customers will not miss a beat in shipping operations because its system will automatically adjust to price changes.

The last increase in postal rates was to 41 cents in May 2007 and before that to 39 cents in January 2006 and 37 cents in June 2002.

Cannone said the USPS will most likely be making smaller increases more frequently rather than larger rate increases every few years moving forward.

“Rate changes will probably become an annual event,” said Cannone. “Any changes in rates would happen annually rather than every three to four years. This is possible under the new postal law that went into effect this year. We found surveys that mailers, especially those that have quite a large mailing budget, would prefer to have postage changes yearly so they can budget better.”

Increases will be at or below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, according to the USPS.

If the increases in first-class mail are not enough, USPS added a new and larger box to its flat-rate priority mail service earlier this month.

The new box is 50 percent larger than the current flat-rate boxes. The box is 12 inches by 12 inches by 5.5 inches in size. It ships for just $12.95 to any U.S. address. The two smaller flat-rate boxes ship for $8.95.

In addition, the USPS is now offering discounts for preparing priority or express mail packages online.

“If you use this online service it saves the postal service expense and labor because you are not standing in line at the post office,” said Cannone.

The San Diego Postal District includes 39,000 square miles consisting of all of San Diego and Imperial counties, most of San Bernardino and Riverside counties and parts of Inyo County.

The Postal District serves 6.3 million residents and delivers 4.9 billion pieces of mail annually. In San Diego, 6 million pieces are delivered each day.

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