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Vodafone Move To Close Stores As Consumers Buy Online

Vodafone who’s Australian operation is trying to merge with TPG has moved to close hundreds of stores.

The global carrier is set to shut 1,000 shops worldwide as part of an overhaul of its retail business. The Company wants to trade online and is moving to change its role at a retail store level to reflect changing consumer behaviour.

CEO Nick Read, told the Financial Times that they expected to transform roughly 40 per cent of its stores.

That could involve upgrading existing shops to larger formats or downgrading them to kiosk-like “click-and-collect” outlets where consumers can pick up pre-ordered items.

He said 15 per cent of the company’s stores would shut within two years as a result of the overhaul.

“If you believe 40 per cent of your transactions are going to be digital, then how does that impact why someone goes to a store?

Last month the Company said that they were expanding their franchise store operations across Europe where Vodafone dominate.

In Australia the Company is awaiting a decision by the Federal Court as to whether they can merge their operations with TPG after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took action to stop the merger.

Research shows that consumers are shifting to buying handsets online or direct from the manufacturer. In Australia JB Hi Fi who is a Telstra reseller has seen a surge in consumers buying smartphones from the consumer electronics retailer.

Read said that retail stores were still an important customer service channel, giving the networks an opportunity to market services such as home broadband and more expensive calls packages he claims.

“In terms of ability to acquire new customers, the ones you acquire through your own stores are generally the most profitable because there is much less commission paid to middlemen,” he added.

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