On Wednesday The 21st of April, 2021, Carphone Warehouse Ireland made an announcement early that morning to it’s staff that it was closing it’s doors to the Irish mobile phone market. The news was being reported by media news outlets a short time later where almost 500 employees of the Dixon Carphone owned company would now face redundancy/ unemployment in the midst of a pandemic that has caused disastrous shocks to all types of retail industries.
Carphone Warehouse has placed the responsibility of the closure on the downturn in the economy and the market downfall. British company Dixon Carphone also own Currys PC World who will “continue to offer our Irish customers a market leading range of top branded mobile handsets and accessories through our Currys PC World stores and on Currys.ie.” according to the CW website.
Carphone Warehouse was where people typically went if they were looking for the best deal on a phone plan, where they would be bombarded with all types of phone providers deals and offers. The company could have been described as a broker, with a monopoly on the broker market for mobile phone services. The service provided provided you with lots of alternatives and allowed you to compare costs and the services provided by phone and sim providers such as Vodafone, Eir and Three. How could a seemingly successful and accommodational company close it’s doors?
The company has said it has seen a decrease in footfall of over 40% and a 25% increase in customers purchasing sim-free handsets which has led to their pessimistic view of the future for the company. The company has 69 standalone stores and 12 branches within stores. The company has faced difficulty in securing agreements to sell contracts from certain mobile phone providers in recent years, most notably with Vodafone.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar TD said “This news will come as a major blow to Carphone Warehouse employees . . . I want them to know that the Government will make all necessary State assistance available to the workers . . . Government is working in a co-ordinated way, through the Retail Forum, and has committed unprecedented levels of financial aid to support retail businesses . . . and will continue to do so.”
Carphone warehouse has seen a bumpy road over the last few years as their own branded service provided iD failed to take off and shut it down three years ago. In 2020, Carphone Warehouse also shut 531 stores in the UK, leaving 3,000 people unemployed. The company has said they did not foresee themselves to take such dramatic action in this short period of time. They have said that "However, the change in shopping behaviours has been accelerated by the pandemic." They have said also that they will extend financial and other supports to their staff affected by the shutting of it’s stores.
The main reason for the closures as explained by the company in a statement are as follows “As part of the company’s broader transformation to one joined up and profitable business it has made the difficult but necessary decision to close Carphone Warehouse in Ireland, in line with its decision to close all standalone Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK in 2020.”
Harvey Norman posted on their twitter in an incredible gesture to employees of Carphone Warehouse: @harveynormanIE – “We know that the employees of Carphone Warehouse are facing a challenging time following today's announcement. We currently have vacancies within our company and encourage anyone who is now looking for a new opportunity to get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org”