9/10/2009 11:15:00 AM
Axe hangs over Orange and T-Mobile retail stores
Plans to cut retail stores across T-Mobile and Orange’s joint estate could see drastic job cuts across the two companies’ shops.
The two operators announced the merger that will create the UK’s largest mobile operator on Tuesday (8 September) – see page 3.
If plans go ahead, the move will create a 50:50 joint venture between the two, and will see retail stores slashed across the UK where there is duplication.
An email was sent to all T-Mobile store staff on Tuesday morning, alongside a webcast from MD Richard Moat explaining the merger due to take place in 18 months’ time.
Some staff expressed worries over the move. One staffer said: ‘They won’t be keeping the retail staff on, but it’s better than a takeover. There will obviously be redundancies and store closures where they are not needed.’
T-Mobile currently has 295 retail stores, while Orange has 360, with plans to roll out another 40 stores by the end of 2009 – taking its total to 400.
An Orange spokesman told Mobile: ‘Retail will be one of the things we will be looking at [after the merger].’
Meanwhile, one T-Mobile source said: ‘Duplicate stores will be taken out.’
Some store staff remained positive over the new alliance, with one saying: ‘I think it will be good, two strong companies coming together and having 37% of the market share.’
Other areas marked out for cuts include jobs in back office functions, middle management, customer service and network infrastructure, Mobile understands.
T-Mobile and Orange’s statement said cost savings for the new joint venture would be generated by: ‘A higher proportion of sales through own shops, resulting in lower distribution costs, and a reduction in the combined number of stores.’
The two companies said the merger of T-Mobile UK and Orange UK would generate cost savings of around £3.5bn.