UK: Phones 4u to close 362 stores

362 Phones 4u stores are set to close, administrators have announced.

362 Phones 4u stores are set to close, administrators have announced. - Credit: PA

Beleaguered mobile phone retailer Phones 4u is to close 362 stores, with the loss of nearly 1,700 jobs, administrators say.

A further 720 staff have been retained to assist with the closure programme, PwC said.

It comes after Phones 4u went into administration last week following network operator EE’s decision not to renew its contract.

Following talks with Phones 4u staff last night, a PwC spokesman announced the closures.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “It is with much regret that we have today made the difficult decision to close a large number of stores. It is a very sad day for the staff working at those locations and our thoughts are with them. We will make every effort to help the affected staff, working with the Phones 4u HR team over the coming days to support employees.”

PwC has yet to disclose which stores are affected.

The Sudbury Phones 4u store, employing five staff, is likely to be among 188 Phones 4u stores which saved after Vodafone said on Friday it would buy 140 Phones 4u stores, safeguarding 887 jobs, following an agreement with administrator PwC.

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Meanwhile, network operator EE is to buy 58 Phones 4u stores in a deal saving more than 350 jobs.

In all, administrators have announced the transfer of more than 2000 staff working in 198 P4U stores and 160 concessions.

The transaction was subject to court approval which has now been received and the transactions are now being finalised.

“Unfortunately, there is limited interest in the balance of the estate from parties considering going concern offers. This comprises 362 stores. Regretfully, as a result, the administrators announce that those stores will close permanently and 1697 staff employed at these locations will be made redundant. Another 720 people have been retained in the short term to assist with the closure programme,” said PwC.

Robert Hunt, Ian Green and Robert Moran of PwC were appointed as administrators to Phones 4u Limited (P4U), a leading independent mobile phone retailer with an annual turnover of £1 billion, operating from more than 700 outlets with 5,596 employees, on September 15.