Royal Mail will launch the UK’s largest click and collect network later this year, introducing the service to over 10,000 Post Office branches.

The post and parcel carrier is currently in talks with a number of major online retailers about offering the service on their websites when it becomes available later this year. It also hopes to extend the service to smaller e-tailers in 2014.

Over 4,000 Post Office stores will remain opened outside of usual hours when the initiative is rolled out, with many opening seven days a week.

The company last week revealed that parcels volumes in its core UK division rose 5% year-on-year, mainly handled by the UK business as well as its Parcelforce Worldwide express delivery service.

Nick Landon, MD of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “The click and collect initiative will help online retailers give shoppers even greater control over the delivery of their items. We are committed to developing services to ensure we meet the changing demands of online retailers and their customers.”

Royal Mail’s plans were praised by postal affairs minister Jo Swinson, who said the firm was “making the most of this growing market and responding to what customers want”.

Rival parcel carrier UPS launched its click and collect service, Access Point, earlier this year.