The closure of all Carphone Warehouse stores is effective immediately. However, it will continue to help customers through its customer support team.
Carphone Warehouse has announced it is pulling out of the Irish market with immediate effect with the closure of all its retail outlets in the Republic.
The move will see the independent mobile retailer close 81 stores in total across the country, comprising 69 standalone stores and 12 stores within stores.
A total of 486 people are also set to lose their jobs as a result of the store closures.
Carphone Warehouse is owned by parent company Dixons Carphone which also owns Currys PC World. However Currys won’t be affected.
Dixons Carphone said in a statement that the closure is part of a "broader transformation" and is in line with its decision to close all 531 standalone Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK last year.
The statement said:
As part of Dixons Carphone’s broader transformation, of one joined up and profitable business, it has made the difficult but necessary decision to close Carphone Warehouse in Ireland, in line with its decision to close all standalone Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK in 2020.
Customers are changing the way they buy mobile devices and connectivity, replacing their handsets less often and buying them separately or as part of more flexible bundles. Although these changes in behaviour were anticipated, they were expected to occur over a longer period of time. However, the change in shopping behaviours has been accelerated by the pandemic.
Carphone Warehouse Ireland colleagues have worked hard to make Carphone Warehouse Ireland a success and have been the driving force behind its well-earned reputation for excellent customer service and support. This difficult decision is no reflection on their commitment, dedication, and professionalism.
We’ll continue to offer our Irish customers a market leading range of top branded mobile handsets and accessories through our Currys PC World stores and on Currys.ie.
Carphone Warehouse has already decommissioned its website with customers no longer able to browse for phones online. And while its stores here remained closed due to the pandemic, they will now no longer re-open.
The chain opened its first store in the Republic in 1996 and merged with Dixons in 2014.
Reasons behind the move
The pandemic has naturally had a detrimental effect on all retail business, with Carphone Warehouse reporting a greater than 40% drop off in footfall as a result.
The company also blamed a change in consumer buying behaviour as a reason for its closure, with it reportedly seeing a 25% increase in customers purchasing SIM-free handsets.
This is not to mention the surge in popularity for SIM-free plans from the likes of GoMo, Clear Mobile, and 48, none of which were available through the retailer.
The acceleration of the move by consumers towards SIM-free plans and handsets has its roots in the onset of the pandemic, undoubtedly, with many customers looking to save money during lockdown, as well as having no other choice but to shop online for the best deal.
It also cannot be underestimated the impact that Vodafone’s cut in ties with the retailer has had on business.
Slightly over one month ago the mobile operator announced that it was to stop selling its phones and plans through Carphone Warehouse, a body blow for the mobile retailer.
The company has said it will “continue to help our customers via our central customer support team and will also ask some colleagues to provide operational support over the coming days.”
Reaction to the closure
Tánasite Leo Varadkar said the news will "come as a major blow to employees and their families" and that the "Government is making all necessary State assistance available to workers."
The Minister for Social Protection is aware of the situation and we will work across Government, to help them find new employment, education and training opportunities as soon as possible.
I know many high street retailers have been under pressure for some time now, as consumers move online - a shift which has been accelerated by the pandemic and I understand that this has contributed to the Carphone Warehouse’s decision today.
Government is working in a coordinated way, through the Retail Forum, and has committed unprecedented levels of financial aid to support retail businesses through these exceptionally difficult times and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, Duncan Graham, Managing Director of Retail Excellence said of the recent closure:
[The Carphone Warehouse closure] reflects the crisis in the retail landscape at present, due to a combination of both Covid-19 and Brexit.
Hundreds of retailers around the country are similarly on the brink of closure due to their inability to trade over several months, and as such business and retail owners are making decisions now on their future viability.
It is imperative that the Government now provides a clear and detailed road map to recovery for the retail industry which prioritises early and safe reopening.
Let's hear from you!
What do you make of the recent news that Carphone Warehouse is closing? Is it good or bad news when it comes to competition for consumers? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below.