As a UK resident myself, it wasn’t exactly surprising (excuse me for being blunt here) but no less sad to hear that Phones4U had essentially been forced into administration due to the UK networks withdrawing their support. The last nail in the company’s coffin appears to have been EE’s somewhat surprising decision to withdraw their devices from Phones4U’s shelves. With no phones to sell, there’s no business for the High Street retailer, and so the firm has fallen into administration. I’ve worked with people from Phones4U myself, and found them to be more than amiable, and I actually popped into a store just this weekend before hearing the news. As the retailer heads into administration, the Phones4U website has now been taken offline, leaving those looking to get in touch with the firm a selection of numbers to call instead.
It’s unclear at this point whether or not the firm will be sold to new owners and bought back to life like GAME and HMV were, but it’s unlikely. Which is sad news to the firm’s near 5,600 employees that face losing their job. Today, the 720 stores up and down the UK are closed, with a decision to be made on how to proceed throughout the administration period. A holding page on the Phones4U website simply reads “following the unexpected decision of EE and Vodafone to withdraw supply from Phones4U , we regret that we are offline. Please accept our apologies and we will update you as soon as possible” as of right now, it seems that the numbers listed are the only way to get in touch with Phones4U.
If you’ve recently pre-ordered a device from the company, it’s likely to be cancelled and you’re hopefully be refunded in full, as iPhone 6 customers have been told. Your best bet to get any info about a pending order or existing insurance policy is to contact them directly from their listed numbers. Which this is sad news to see a High Street name that’s been around since the late 80s disappear like this, it’s hardly surprising. With the market already tough as it is, the recent Dixons Carphone Group merger couldn’t have made any long-term planning exactly bright.
While Phones4U’s owners blasted Vodafone yesterday, the network has responded with a spokesman telling the Telegraph that “Phones 4U was offered repeated opportunities to propose competitive distribution terms to enable us to conclude a new agreement, but was unable to do so on terms which were commercially viable for Vodafone in the current UK market conditions. We were told by the Phones 4U management team that they had little commercial flexibility due to their debt repayment obligations, but that they had a number of alternative strategies in place if we couldn’t reach an agreement with them.”
Have you been directly affected by the firm’s recent collapse? How do you think this will effect the UK’s High Street? Let us know down below.