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Desperate US Postal Service tries to find its 'cool' factor with apparel

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service, desperate and almost broke, is looking to the wallets of younger Americans for some relief.

The federal government's mail transport and delivery agency this week said it will roll out a line of apparel and accessories it plans to sell in department and specialty stores.

The "Rain Heat & Snow" brand of clothing, named after the Postal Service's motto trumpeting its carriers' determination to overcome whatever Mother Nature can throw at them, would put USPS in the "cutting edge of functional fashion," it said.

"The idea is to blend in with the younger audiences as well as the more educated consumer," said Roy Betts, a spokesman for the Postal Service.

The fashion line is not the cash-strapped Postal Service's first attempt to woo younger shoppers. In 2011, the agency waived a rule that required people of note featured on stamps to be dead at least five years.

The Postal Service has invited the public to submit suggestions of celebrities to be honored, and was reportedly flooded with requests for a Lady Gaga stamp, among other pop culture figures. But that plan quietly disappeared and did not start last year as the Postal Service said it would.

Martin Saunders, the Postal Service spokesman authorized to speak on the stamp program, declined to say why the program had stalled. The agency, he said, is still evaluating the living legends stamp program.

Now, with the Postal Service losing roughly $25 million a day as more Americans opt for email and the Internet for communication, it is again focusing on the younger population to bring in more revenue.