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Crawley to lose its ‘standalone’ Carphone warehouse with potential job losses as 531 stores close

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Carphone Warehouse has announced it is to close all of its 531 standalone stores from the 3rd April.

For Crawley this will mean the closure of the store in The Martletts. But the other site within PC World in County Oak Retail Park will remain as the firm concentrates on selling through their shop-in-shop sites.

Dixons said that almost 40% of affected colleagues are expected to take new roles in the business, and other colleagues will be fully supported.

The group added:

“Today’s announcement is an essential next step in Dixons Carphone’s turnaround of its Mobile business as part of its strategy outlined in December 2018, to return this part of the business, which will make a £90m loss this year, to profitability.

Customers are changing the way they buy mobile devices and connectivity, replacing their handsets less often and buying them separately or as part of more flexible bundles.

Customers are also increasingly choosing to shop, not only with our large and growing online business, but also in the company’s big 3-in-1 stores, featuring Currys, PCWorld and Carphone Warehouse, which continue to grow market share and where customer satisfaction is sharply up. These stores, which are 20 times larger than Carphone Warehouse standalone stores, allow customers to see, touch and play with technology (electricals as well as mobile, services as well as products) and receive trusted independent advice from 17,000 expert store colleagues, all in one place. The business has been investing tens of millions of pounds in these stores.

The group also said that it had not yet seen seen a material impact from COVID-19, though they are preparing for one.

Alex Baldock, Group Chief Executive said:

“Customers are changing how they buy technology, and Dixons Carphone must change with them. We’re underway with a fundamental transformation to do so. Today’s tough decision is an essential part of that, the next step in making our UK Mobile business a success for customers, colleagues and other shareholders. Clearly, with unsustainable losses of £90m expected this year, Mobile is currently holding back the whole business. There’s never an easy time for an announcement like this, but the turbulent times ahead only underline the importance of acting now.

I don’t underestimate how upsetting this news will be for our colleagues, and we’ll treat everyone with honesty, respect and care. We want to keep as many of our Carphone Warehouse colleagues as we can, and expect to find new roles for almost 40% of those affected. We’re working hard to look after those colleagues we can’t find new roles for, financially and otherwise. We’ll pay enhanced redundancy, any bonuses, honour their share awards, and help them find new jobs through an outplacement programme. We recognise our responsibilities towards our colleagues and communities, and intend to fulfil them.

But though this is by far the toughest decision we’ve had to make, it is necessary. We must follow our customers. They want help with all technology, all in one place, and this trend is only going to accelerate in a more connected 5G world.

So customers are increasingly heading, not just to our large and growing online business, but into our big stores, where they can find all the experts and tech – mobiles, computers, TVs, smart tech, appliances, gaming and all the rest – they need. But they can’t find all this in the small mobile-only stores that are one twentieth of the size; they’re visiting these less and these stores are losing more money as a result.

That’s why we’re committed to our more than 300 big stores around the UK, why we’re investing tens of millions of pounds in them and in the thousands of expert colleagues who work in them. But it’s also why sadly we have to close the small stores.

We remain committed to Mobile, as we’re showing by developing a new offer for customers, retaining as many Carphone Warehouse colleagues as we can, and making Mobile a core category in our big stores and online. As such, Mobile will be part of the one, joined-up business that customers want and that’s essential for our transformation. Today’s announcement is about ensuring we’re ready for that future, and staying on track for future success.”

Business

‘It’s not nearly enough funding’ warns Crawley Council as business grant applications open

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Eligible businesses can now apply for the latest round of business grants but Crawley Borough Council says the funding is not nearly enough.

Despite Crawley being responsible for 25 per cent of the economic output in West Sussex, it has been given some of the lowest grant funding in the county.

The government has given the council £3,733,396 made up of:

  • £1,485,216 in Local Restrictions Support Grant to distribute to businesses that pay business rates and have had to close during the second lockdown
  • £2,248,180 in Additional Restrictions Grant, which is given to businesses that don’t pay business rates and have been affected by the lockdown but not legally required to close.

Out of seven local authorities in West Sussex, only one received less than Crawley’s combined grants figure. Five councils received more.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is based on £20 per person in Crawley rather than the number of businesses in the town. This means that Arun District Council, for example, has received £3,215,160 due to a larger population but smaller economy.

And only one council in West Sussex received less than Crawley across both rounds of grant funding in April and November. Crawley received a total of £17,167,646. The highest – Chichester District Council – received £43,739,396.

In the first round of grants earlier this year only 23 per cent of Crawley businesses received financial help from the government.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“The pot of grant funding provided by the government is very limited and does not recognise the number of businesses we have in Crawley.

“The way the grant settlement is calculated – on population and not on the size of the economy – means we have to turn most businesses away, while other councils have millions to spare. This is causing major hardship at a time when Crawley is already the hardest-hit economy in the UK.”

Businesses that have had to close during the second lockdown can apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant by visiting https://grantapproval.co.uk

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