Stores closure bombshell for Carphone Warehouse

Dixons Carphone is to close all of its standalone physical Carphone Warehouse stores – with more than 60% of in-store staff set to lose their jobs – to reflect changes in how its customers buy technology products and services. The bombshell move will see 531 stores close.

The company's mobile division is to be fully joined up with the wider business, in what Dixons Carphone describes as as “essential next step towards making mobile a sustainable and profitable category”.

The standalone stores represent around 8% of Dixons Carphone's total UK selling space; mobile products will continue to be sold through the Carphone Warehouse shop-in-shop format within 305 large Currys PCWorld store, and online. The group said nearly 40% of staff are expected to be redeployed within the company, and that the remainder - around 2,900 people - will “be fully supported”.

According to Dixons Carphone, consumers are increasingly choosing to use its large format '3-in-1' stores, or its online services.

“Customers are changing how they buy technology, and Dixons Carphone must change with them... Today’s tough decision is an essential part of that, the next step in making our UK Mobile business a success for customers, colleagues and other shareholders. Clearly, with unsustainable losses of £90 million expected this year, Mobile is currently holding back the whole business. There’s never an easy time for an announcement like this, but the turbulent times ahead only underline the importance of acting now,” said Dixons Carphone group chief executive Alex Baldock.

Carphone Warehouse 3-in-1 store
Carphone Warehouse 3-in-1 store

“But though this is by far the toughest decision we’ve had to make, it is necessary. We must follow our customers. They want help with all technology, all in one place, and this trend is only going to accelerate in a more connected 5G world,” added Baldock.

Baldock said that the company remains committed to its large format stores. “That's... why we’re investing tens of millions of pounds in them and in the thousands of expert colleagues who work in them. But it’s also why sadly we have to close the small stores,” he said.