PwC has confirmed that 362 stores of Phones 4u will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,700 jobs. At the same time, the administrators have also confirmed that approximately 2,000 jobs have been 'saved' through tansfers to other market players.
Phones 4u, set up by John Caudwell and his brother Brian in 1987, was one of UK's largest independent mobile phone retailer and owned by BC Partners, a private equity group, since March 2011. The company had over 700 stores and 5,600 in staff, and an annual turnover of £1 billion. On 15 September 2014, the company went into administration after its final remaining suppliers, EE, Vodafone, Orange and O2, had ended their contracts on 14 September 2014.
To oversee the administration of Phones 4u, a team of accounting and consulting firm PwC was appointed, with Robert Jonathan Hunt, Ian David Green and Robert John Moran acting as joint administrators. After a thorough review of the situation, the administrators concluded that there was no option left but to stop a large part of the operations. The result: the closure of 362 stores, resulting in the loss of 1,700 jobs.
“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,” comments Hunt on the decision. Around 720 staff will be retained in the short term to assist with the closure programme.
Just days after the company went into administration, PwC announced that nearly 2,000 employees will be able to continue working through transfers, including to Phones 4u’s former suppliers. Vodafone reached an agreement with the administrators and will take over 140 Phones 4u stores, maintaining 887 jobs. EE also reached an agreement and will take over 58 stores that will save 359 jobs, and Dixons Carphone will hire 800 workers who work at the Phones 4u departments in their stores.