The Greetings Card Association (GCA), which represents more than 500 card businesses, has called for the interest of its members to be safeguarded as Royal Mail considers an offer for a takeover from investment firm EP Group

Royal Mail van

The GCA has urged Royal Mail’s parent company, International Distribution Services (IDS), and EP Group to consider the interests of its members if it goes through with a sale.

EP Group is owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. The firm already owns a 27.6% stake in IDS and a 9.9% stake in Sainsbury’s

The association said a national, reliable and affordable Royal Mail service cannot be compromised.

GCA chief executive Amanda Fergusson said: “Today’s bid does nothing to change the concerns we’ve been expressing for some time. Our 500-plus members, largely small businesses, and the consumers they serve rely on a Royal Mail that’s national, reliable and affordable. That cannot be compromised. We will need to see these principles enshrined in any undertakings between the government, IDS and EP Group before any recommendation of this offer.

“It’s not just enough for EP Group to give contractual undertakings about first class, six-days-a-week delivery – this must include an undertaking to deliver legal service standards in place at any time.”

Earlier this year, Ofcom recommended cutting Royal Mail letter services from six days to five or three days, with a faster, more expensive option allowed for next-day deliveries.

This was part of Ofcom’s review of how the UK’s postal service may need to be updated. Royal Mail currently has a universal service obligation to deliver to UK addresses six days a week for the price of a stamp.