"The Post Office has said it will consider keeping branches open if they do not take trade away from other post offices and if they bear all the running costs themselves. They will no longer get any government subsidy and subpostmasters will not get a wage." http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/Home/MyWandsworth/Pressreleases/newspage_detail.htm?id=5806
The thing is, that's not the PO trying to run as a business; that's the PO wanting to have its cake and eat it. I talked to the sub-postmaster at our nearest branch when the threat came up and he said that six months ago he had 200 special delivery orders a day. Since the Royal Mail site let people buy postage for parcels and special delivery online, it went down to a handful. But you still have to take those parcels to a post office branch to post them and you still have to queue up and get the proof of postage stamped - so the branch is a vital part of that transaction, but it gets no credit for it. It doesn't count as revenue or traffic, so the Post Office can say the branch is under-used and close it. You can still buy the postage online - but now you have go miles further to use it. Isn't this a monopoly taking advantage of its position?
This is the other half of the online delivery problem. It isn't a transaction you can disintermediate; not every parcel is small enough to drop into the letter box and I don't trust the postal service not to lose parcels: I'm still waiting to have a lost parcel paid for many months after it just disappeared. The branch should get credit for being the drop-off point and enabling the online service - and suddenly it would look as profitable as it did six months ago.