12/8/2008 12:36:00 PM
Vodafone to open 18 new stores before Christmas
Vodafone claimed that its store expansion plans are gathering pace with several leases signed. The first 18 of 50 shops have already been negotiated and are set to open before Christmas, and the remainder will open before the March 2009.
The network has already opened the first four stores following an announcement by sales chief Tom Devine in August 2008.
Devine said he was keen to take advantage of better deals with landlords as general retailers struggle during the tough retail climate.
Vodafone is looking to add more stores to build share in certain cities. The operator will open its third store in Newcastle and its second in Plymouth.
It is also focussing heavily on the south-east of England with five new stores, as well as a extend into smaller market towns.
Orange is another operator with store openings in the pipeline, with 100 new stores. The first 20 opened between October and the end 2008.
Orange’s target store estate will rise to 400, while Vodafone’s will go up to 365. Both companies are also looking to reinvigorate their store format with more live handsets and dedicated areas.
Vodafone’s new stores are 60 square meters on average and employ an average of five full time advisors.
Devine said this week that the new stores would provide career advancements for the existing retail team: ‘Around 70% of the managers who will be running these stores are those who have worked their way from trainee to assistant manager. I’m delighted that we are able to give these talented managers a new store, new customers and a new team to grow, and that we can help them on the career ladder.’