2/26/2009 11:23:00 AM
Carphone Warehouse plans to revamp its smaller stores
Carphone Warehouse has around 20 to 30 stores on a disposal list, but has ruled out looking to dump over 100 stores.
Chief executive Andrew Harrison reiterated that it has put aside a provision of £19m for store disposals, a comment originally made by finance chief Roger Taylor in November 2008.
Sources close to Carphone said the company was trying to dispose of stores on a ‘piecemeal basis’.
Up to 200 staff could be affected, but the majority is likely to be transferred to Carphone’s new, larger stores.
The retailer is gradually trying to dispose of stores nearing the end of their 10 to 12 year lease, as paying for the remainder of the lease could otherwise prove costly.
Harrison said the company was not making wholesale disposals, and was more focused on swapping small outlets for bigger ones, which it could revamp into its new ‘Wireless World’ format, as it has done with its White City branch.
Many of Carphone’s smallest stores are not suitable to sell its broader range of products, which includes laptops and games consoles.
Harrison said: ‘We’re looking at converting 50 stores into the format we have in White City, and on top of that we will open 12 to 25 new stores in the same larger format. Most of those have already been relocated.’
One source close to Carphone said: ‘They simply have way too many stores and expanded too quickly. The problem is, the stores they need to dispose of are the ones they signed up to most recently, and some are in awful locations.’
Many industry experts believe Carphone’s chain of 800 stores is too large to serve the UK market.
However, Harrison stated: ‘Every year we review our portfolio based around performance, lease expiries etc. In 2008 we closed 30 UK stores on this basis. It’s business as usual. we do not see any major changes in this approach.’