UK mobile retailer Phones 4u has today been forced to close its online and physical retail stores as it scrambles to secure its immediate future, following the collapse of two commercial partnerships.
A notice on the retailer’s website confirms the cause of the slide into administration – it just lost its last two network and handset providers – EE and Vodafone. EE withdrew support on Friday, whereas Vodafone withdrew earlier in September. Mobile network Three ended its contract back in 2012, and O2 withdrew at the start of this year, leaving no other major UK operators on the table.
With a UK network of more than 550 retail stores and more than 5,500 staff, those stores have now had to close “pending a decision by the administrators on whether the business can be reopened for trading”, according to a statement given to the Financial Times. Customers can call the numbers listed above with inquiries.
With the rise of operator-owned stores, there’s now little incentive for networks to continue to work with a retail network like Phones 4u, where they don’t get to control the entire sales experience.
➤ Phones 4U Goes Into Administration [Financial Times]