Phones 4U to close 362 stores with 1,697 job losses

Phones 4U administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said low interest in the sale of the mobile phone retailer's estate means that it is set to close 362 shops across the UK. The store closures will result in a total of 1,697 job losses.

The move comes after Vodafone and EE agreed to buy 198 stores and 160 concessions between them, saving more than 2,000 jobs. PwC said court approval for these transactions has now been received and they are now able to go ahead.

However, PwC said insufficient interest in the remaining stores means it has moved to wrap up affairs.

"There is limited interest in the balance of the estate from parties considering going concern offers. This comprises 362 stores. Regretfully, as a result, the administrators announce that those stores will close permanently and 1,697 staff employed at these locations will be made redundant," PwC said in a statement.

PwC is retaining a further 720 people in the short term to assist with the closure programme.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: "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."

Phones 4U was forced into administration on Sept. 14 after EE and Vodafone UK decided not to renew contracts for the sale of network airtime and devices through the retailer. EE was the last to leave.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this PwC statement

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