back to article UK Carphone Warehouse shops set to sling their last phones, 2.9k redundancies hit high street, as Dixons closes all 531 'standalone' sites

It's (yet another) sad day for the UK high street, after Dixons Carphone confirmed it will close all 531 standalone Carphone Warehouse stores, with an expected 2,900 roles made redundant. Around 1,800 Carphone Warehouse staffers – representing circa 62 per cent of the workforce – will be offered new roles within the wider …

  1. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    I thought it was mad in 2014

    Dixons/Currys was bonkers buying CPW in the first place. Even the name was 10+ years past sell by date in 2014 and dedicated phone shops were already dead apart from the Mobile Operators and screen fixers selling S/H but mostly swapping screens and selling covers.

    Tesco likely sells more phones than CPW.

    Here CPW are trying to sell Sky Fibre Broadband, except Sky in Ireland only resells Eircom. Everyone here claims BB is fibre and lies about speed even if it's copper from the exchange. Useless Comreg. They've even been reselling Tesco!

    1. Spanker

      Re: I thought it was mad in 2014

      My experience when trying to buy a cheap android device in Tesco is that they were thrown into confusion by the concept of a customer actually wanting to buy a phone.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: I thought it was mad in 2014

      I thought I was mad after going into one of their shops in 2013 to buy a phone. It was a mistake I never repeated.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I thought it was mad in 2014

        Yeah.

        I wanted a cheapo phone and they kept trying to sell me the most expensive Samsung (that's all they had on display). Instead of making a sale, they got nowt.

        Ain't been back since. Went to a Pawn shop down the road and bought a used iPhone. Been doing the same ever since.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    I wish their retained and newly redundant staff all the best, but I can only say I'm not surprised if their in-store "customer experience" is anything to go by. Nipping in to buy a cable or similar and then having to run the whole gamut of trying to be up-sold a new handset or service contract upgrade when that wasn't what I asked for in the first place; or expecting me to provide a whole raft of personal data just to pay for something is utterly annoying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...

      Yeah, their main function the past few years has been to feel the phone in my hand before ordering an unlocked version for half the price online.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Hmmm...

        Any time I've bought from Carphone Warehouse, the prices have been pretty reasonable, maybe £5 more expensive than online, but I don't have to worry about shipping or whether I'm going to get a fake product.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and trading conditions hampered by Brexit complexity."

    Brexit has nothing to do with it, it's an outdated one trick shopping model that's well passed it's sell by date.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed, though I still think Brexit was a stupendous piece of national self-harm, a "cry for help" aimed at a group of sociopaths, I agree.

      If anything Brexit is more likely to bring about the return of brick and mortar shops and higher prices, because dealing with import documentation, tariffs and so on, will be beyond the wit of the small traders that currently sell on ebay and Amazon.

      However, before that happens there is going to be a lot of economic pain.

      One reason is that non-jobs have flourished as productivity in real jobs has increased. Governments know that having a lot of unemployed sitting around eventually leads to riot and revolution, so it makes sense to have double glazing salespersons, fingernail decorators, telephone insurance upsellers and an advertising industry dedicated to making people think they want things they could easily live without. Coronavirus is going to stop a lot of that. The retired on pensions generally spend their money on food and service industries, and occupy their time in harmless pursuits, but a couple of million unemployed debt ridden graduates could have dire effects if they get their act together. The Brit riot in Benidorm because the bars were closed could be the tip of a very big fatberg.

      1. Hoppy

        Cough

        B Ark?

  4. JDPower Bronze badge

    Whenever I'm looking for a new phone I always go to CPW. Only to physically compare look and feel of phones though, then go home and order online, even if it's FROM CPW. They also don't help themselves with their 'attentive' staff making the shops a borderline hostile place TO even enter (admittedly an approach not unique to CPW)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, that still freaks me out though not as much as when I first encountered it on a trip to the US in decades past. I think that time I actively ran from the 'greeter' where now I just tell them I don't need help and leave if they won't accept that as an answer.

      Who decided that was how to make more sales? I'm the type of shopper who, left undisturbed in an electronics or bookshop, will wander around for ages collecting more and more items to spend a lot more than planned. With constant sales attention I will either give up and go elsewhere or specify exactly what I want and leave if they have it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So fairwell, Carphone Whorehouse...

    The one and only phone I purchased from you was a 6110.

    Over twenty years ago.

    Sorry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So fairwell, Carphone Whorehouse...

      Nokia 2110 here in around 1995 if I remember correctly. Lasted me until I bought a 8210 online in 1999? Had that for a few years then went SIM free.

    2. Phil Endecott

      Re: So fairwell, Carphone Whorehouse...

      Similar story, mine was an 8310 in about 2002.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So fairwell, Carphone Whorehouse...

      I thought it was more usually known as Crapphone Whorehouse?

    4. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: So fairwell, Carphone Whorehouse...

      Similar for me. In a way, I'm sad to see them go: back in the day, when I finally decided to get my first mobile phone, and knew little about them (they were genuinely still quite rare then, especially if you weren't particularly well off), the CPW staff were genuinely very helpful, and I eventually came out with a shiny Nokia 5110 (of course), with a year's contract paid up-front, at a very reasonable price.

      But then, since that time, detailed mobile phone reviews on the web proliferated, online ordering became a thing, eventually you (sadly?) no longer needed to compare a billion Nokia models before deciding, SIM-only became a thing, and if you wanted to fork out on an iPhone you might at least go to the Apple Store and be schmoozed for a while before they emptied your wallet...

  6. Apprentice

    Satisfied customer here

    Like all retailers, some people will slag them off because they had a less than stellar experience, but I have always gone back to CPW when I am ready to purchase a new phone, typically once a year (yes I am a serial upgrader). Because you can't argue with the huge range of phones and the very competitive pricing, something that the networks simply don't offer in their stores. Sure there have been the odd times when customer service was poor, mainly in the pop-up shops within PC World, but on the whole I have been very happy with the 'pre' and 'after' sales service. They now need to make their PC World outlets larger, so we continue to have more devices on display and have sufficient staff to serve the customers.

  7. 2Fat2Bald

    It's a shame, but it's been pretty obvious that even CPW didn't want their stores any more. When upgrade came around I got several calls from their call centre trying to get me to upgrade over the phone. It struck me as a little disloyal to the stores. When I've had problems the stores can't help me, beyond call the call centre on my behalf which I appreciate but it strikes me that they could give the stores access to the same system(s) to deal with returns/repairs. They the stores are intentionally being neutered to a position less effective than the call centre or website.

    I have to say I've almost always had good experienced with CPW stores. I liked going in and fondling the handsets before buying one & the staff have always been helpful.

    A cynic might imagine that - whilst this isn't directly caused by Covid-19 - this is hardly going to be the major news story it otherwise might have been right now. So the timing could be opportunistic. Which would be pretty shitty to be honest.

    1. peachy001

      Yep, a good day/month to bury bad news. I agree, they should have offered the same deals in-store as online, including mobiles.co.uk, their sister online operation, which was always cheaper than even the carphone warehouse online store. If they had, then job done, you have a presence, and a future. It's scary when you have a monopoly on the high street, and you still can't make it work.

  8. peachy001

    I saw this coming some time ago, as did many I expect. My partner hates me walking into any electronics shops, as I usually end up have a discussion which leaves me moaning at the lack of knowledge. Recent trips, yes I used to make many, would usually involve some store assistant bothering me immediately, I usually shrugged them off. Odd times, I'd engage, butb99% of the time they just showed what a waste of time they were. Case in point, whenever I did question them and ask about any specs of the phone, they would invariably struggle to answer the basics. If I mentioned screen sizes or battery capacity, they really couldn't give me any kind of figure, or say which devices had bigger/smaller displays or capacity. There typical response was to pull out a tablet, and use it to go on the carphone warehouse website. I mean, come on, I can do that myself. They never seemed to be able to do more than read off their own website. That was the same at all the bigger stores. They also had three stores within a very small area. The worst of which was filled with kids, 17-23yrs that just were no techy at all. The exception was at smaller stores that had less footfall. There, the staff, usually 25-50yrs had much greater knowledge, and a far better attitude. They seldom consulted their tablets, and actually knew the products. Even able to tell me, off the top of their head, loads of things about the tariffs and specs. The staff in the larger "flagship" store in my town were surplus to requirements, and genuinely had no more product knowledge than the till operators at Argos.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The writing was on the wall......

    ....a long time ago, when Charlie Dustone decided to sell it to Dixons. He saw it coming, so took his Billions, split Talktalk and sold the rest. Parallelly he launched ID Mobiles to directly cannibalise CPW sales in the merged entity.

    Conflict of interests? No way. At least thats what the city bankers/brokers thought when they engineered the deal ! They all work for themselves first. Should anyone be surprised? I am, for the length of time CPW was made to survive !

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