Phones 4U to shed almost 1,700 jobs

Phones 4U store Image copyright PA

Almost 1,700 jobs are to go at the failed mobile phone retailer Phones 4U, after the firm's administrators confirmed that 362 stores will close.

Phones 4U collapsed last week after failing to reach agreements to sell the services of mobile phone network companies Vodafone and EE.

The company had more than 700 outlets and 5,600 staff.

Earlier, EE confirmed that it was taking over 58 stores, and last week Vodafone agreed to take on 140 outlets.

Dixons Carphone also said last week that it would hire the 800 people who work in Phones 4U concessions at its Currys and PC World stores.

The administrators said that 720 staff had been retained in the "short term" to help with the closures.

"It is with much regret that we have today made the difficult decision to close a large number of stores," said Rob Hunt, from the administrators PwC.

"We will make every effort to help the affected staff, working with the Phones 4U HR team over the coming days to support employees."

'Ruthless actions'

There was a row last week over who was to blame for the collapse of the retailer, which was profitable.

Phones 4U founder John Caudwell blamed the demise of the company on the "ruthless actions" of "predatory" mobile phone networks.

Mr Caudwell, who sold the firm in 2006, told the BBC's Today programme last week that it had been an "unprecedented assassination".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Phones 4U founder John Caudwell blames the mobile firms for the collapse

The mobile firms rejected his claim.

EE said its decision to end its relationship with Phones 4U was based on its strategy to focus on its own shops and cut out intermediaries, while Vodafone rejected an suggestion that it had acted inappropriately during contract negotiations.

The private equity firm that owned Phones 4U was also criticised for loading the company with more than £200m in debt.

The failure of Phones 4U leaves Carphone Dixons as by far the biggest independent retailer of mobile phones and network services.

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