Do you remember walking through your local high street a few months ago, witnessing EE employees hurriedly redecorating their old T-Mobile and Orange stores? Well it seems that some of that hard work will have all been for nothing, as EE intends to close 78 of their 700 retail stores before the end of April this year.
Oddly this has nothing to do with the current economic climate, but rather seems to be down to some initial poor planning by the UK’s only 4G network provider. A spokesperson for the network commented on the closures, saying:
“Following the successful launch of EE, and the rebranding of former Orange and T-Mobile stores last year, we are determined to maintain momentum, and continue to drive growth. Consequently we have reviewed our retail estate to improve the service our customers are receiving on the high street.
“As part of this, where we have two EE stores in very close proximity to each other – in some places they are just a door away – we have decided to consolidate. This makes commercial sense and will also help us manage the high levels of demand in our stores and improve the customer experience.”
Fortunately for sales employees, EE have stated that most of their front-line staff will keep their jobs, and will be redeployed to nearby stores to help boost the quality of customer services. Sadly for managers though, the operator says that there are only a limited number of managerial positions across the chain, and that it may be difficult to relocate everybody.
Clearly it makes a lot of sense to close stores which are occupying virtually the same space; it will save a lot of money on staffing, premises and stock costs. But I’m still curious as to why nobody took the time to think about this before spending £50 million on refurbishments.