Almost 3,000 people will lose their jobs after smartphone retailer Carphone Warehouse announced that it will close all of its standalone UK stores next month.
The decision was not motivated by the impact of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but the change in how customers buy mobile devices and technology, Dixons Carphone, which operates Carphone Warehouse, said in a statement.
All 531 of Carphone Warehouse's standalone UK stores will shut their doors on April 3, but the business will continue to operate within 305 big Currys PCWorld stores, as well as online.
The move will lead to 2,900 redundancies — about 60% of the UK workforce of Carphone Warehouse. The remaining 1,800 staff will take new roles internally, Dixons Carphone said in a statement.
Dixons Carphone said in its statement that group trading has not been "impacted materially by COVID-19," but Dixons Travel stores, mainly located in airports, have been "severely impacted" due to a fall in passenger numbers.
Alex Baldock, Dixons Carphone chief executive, said that Dixons Carphone's mobile business is expected to make a loss of about £90 million ($109 million) in the 2019/20 financial year.
"Mobile is currently holding back the whole business," Baldock said.
He said: "There's never an easy time for an announcement like this, but the turbulent times ahead only underline the importance of acting now."
He pledged to treat all affected staff "with honesty, respect and care" and said they would be fully supported with a range of benefits.
"But though this is by far the toughest decision we've had to make, it is necessary," he added. "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."
The changes will not affect 70 Carphone Warehouse stores in the Republic of Ireland or any operations internationally.