Dixons Carphone is to shut all its 531 mobile-only shops to shed nearly 3,000 jobs.
The decision is a U-turn after the company said closure was not on the agenda during a turnaround strategy.
Chief Executive Alex Baldock said at the time:
“We are not sitting here with any major plans to close a load more stores. We like stores.”
However, the company now admits customers’ shopping habits were changing “very fast and we have to change with them”.
Mr Baldock said smaller, mobile-only sites have been losing more and more money.
He said fewer shoppers were upgrading devices or opting for less profitable, SIM-only deals.
Carphone Warehouse shops will close on April 3rd.
It’s hoped 1,800 staff can be deployed to other stores but 2,900 will be made redundant.
Mr Baldock said: “Even though it’s a very tough decision, it is right for the long-term.
“It is an exceptionally difficult day for our colleagues. It’s a painful and difficult day for the business.”
The company said: “We will help them find new jobs through an outplacement programme.
“We recognise our responsibilities towards our colleagues and communities, and intend to fulfil them.”
Zoe Mills, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said:
“After a number of years of double digit declines in its mobile business, Dixons Carphone’s decision is a necessary step to protect profits and adjust to the changing dynamic of the mobile phone market.”