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Postal Service fashion coming to a store near you?
Wednesday - 2/20/2013, 4:14pm EST
But under a new licensing agreement the agency signed with a fashion apparel group, you could be seeing a lot more people who look like your mail carrier.
The cash-strapped agency announced Feb. 19 it has inked a deal with the Cleveland-based Wahconah Group to launch an all-weather line of clothing to be called "Rain Heat & Snow."
The clothing's brand name is drawn from the service's unofficial motto: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
The clothing and accessories, to be branded with USPS trademarks, will be available at department and specialty stores beginning in 2014, according to an agency release.
A USPS spokesman told Federal News Radio in an email the service did not incur any costs in signing the licensing agreement. The spokesman said he could not disclose the royalty rates USPS will earn from sales of the clothing but said the deal is expected to increase the service's "brand reputation" and increase revenue.
"This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion," said Postal Service Corporate Licensing Manager Steven Mills. The new apparel line will use "smart" technology to create "wearable electronics," he said.
The company will initially roll out a line of clothing geared toward men, with future plans for a women's line, USPS said.
USPS faces bleak financial situation
The announcement comes amid a bleak financial situation faced by the agency. USPS twice defaulted on legally required health-care payments for future USPS retirees last year and all together lost $15.9 billion. Postal officials have instituted a series of cost-saving measures, including consolidating mail-processing facilities, cutting post office hours and reducing its workforce through buyouts. Earlier this month, USPS announced it would end Saturday delivery for First Class mail (while retaining Saturday delivery for packages) beginning in August.
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe has called on Congress to approve postal reform legislation to put the agency back on firmer financial footing.