Mobile network conglomerate EE has announced plans to close a total of 78 shops across the UK as part of a cost-cutting operation.
The company says the move is in part an inevitable downsizing after the existing branches of T-Mobile and Orange were combined under the EE umbrella, and says all front-line staff will be retained.
That probably won't do too much to change initial worries that yet another major name on the high street is in trouble, however. Not when we've seen the likes of HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops hitting administration woes in the past few weeks alone.
But with the rebranding of T-Mobile and Orange shops having left in some cases two EE branches situated right next door or facing each other, there's more than a little logic behind some degree of downsizing. Besides, considering EE is currently the sole provider of 4G services in the UK, if it's in a deep financial hole right now it doesn't leave much hope for its rivals.
According to ZDNet, the decision on store closures was based on practicalities such as footfall, the lease situation and the proximity of the next EE store.
“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,” EE said in a statement earlier today.
“All front line staff will be moving to the other stores, which will boost service levels significantly. A store can only have one manager, so we will look to redeploy the small number of affected managers where possible.”
Logically, that “small number” is of course 78, and no matter how sensible EE's business decision might be, we'd suggest a more accurate use of “small number” would be to describe how many of them are feeling particularly happy about it right now.