High street retailer Dixons Carphone has unveiled further job cuts, saying it plans to make as many as 800 staff redundant as it revamps operations at larger stores and looks to reduce costs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The job cuts will affect staff in its 300 or so Currys stores and come on top of the 3,000 positions axed when the company announced the closure of its 532 standalone Carphone Warehouse shops in March.
Chief operating officer Mark Allsop said on Tuesday that the company wanted “to empower store leadership teams, create a flatter management structure and make it easy for customers to shop with us”.
The group also said the proposals would see shop management “work as an integrated team across the stores’ electricals and mobile offerings”.
Previously, the Carphone Warehouse outlets within Currys stores had been managed by separate teams using different IT systems, a legacy of the 2014 merger that created the group.
While it was “increasingly working towards one company” the Carphone Warehouse brand name would be retained, as would the separate selling areas within stores, the group said.
During the UK’s 12-week lockdown, online sales at Currys soared as increased working from home drove demand for laptops, printers and other office technology.
But Carphone Warehouse sales did not migrate online to the same extent, and the company warned that the mobile phone unit’s return to profitability would be delayed as a result of the pandemic.
Uncertainty about the future of the mobile phone business, which has suffered as users upgrade phones less frequently and buy more handsets without call plans, has been the main factor in its weak share price performance.
The stock was up almost 4 per cent at midday on Tuesday, but has fallen by more than three-quarters over the past five years.
Dixons Carphone has reopened all its large UK and Ireland stores after the easing of lockdowns and has stressed that stores still form a key part of its business model.
“We remain committed to our stores as part of an omnichannel future,” said Mr Allsop. Dixons Carphone has previously stressed how stores provide opportunities for upselling services, warranties and credit as well as allowing customers to try out products.
The company recently said it was securing substantially lower rents when it renewed leases, reflecting its status as an important tenant on many out-of-town retail parks.
However, Dixons Carphone is also increasing its use of technology to showcase its ranges online. It is increasing staff numbers at ShopLive, the personal shopping service it launched during lockdown to provide customer advice via video link.