Phones 4U enters administration

Published:  17 September, 2014

220 shopping centre stores at risk as last network partner pulls the plug

Robert Jonathan Hunt, Ian David Green and Robert John Moran of PwC have been appointed as administrators to Phones 4u, the independent mobile phone retailer with an annual turnover of £1 billion, operating from more than 700 outlets with 5,596 
Rob Hunt, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: "This is a very sad day for the business and the many people working there. In light of our impending appointment the directors understandably took the decision to close all the shops today and sent many staff home."
HDH's Jonathan de Mello said: “The administration of Phones 4u shows how even a very profitable business can struggle in today's rapidly evolving retail market. Phones 4u has expanded fast under BC Partners' ownership, and BC - unlike many other private equity businesses - has invested in the business, opening hundreds of stores in the past few years.
”With O2, Vodafone and EE all pulling out, there is essentially no business left, as Phones 4u have failed to develop their own mobile service and were completely reliant on the telcos. The balance of power has changed radically over the years as the telcos have been selling more and more contracts online, and consequently Phones 4u has moved down the pecking order from an essential retail partner to relatively inconsequential; culminating in the telcos finally cutting the cord.
"The telcos have relatively extensive physical retail networks themselves - most of which are unprofitable in a traditional sense - but build significant brand equity as they tend to be situated in high traffic locations. The net effect of this will be to make the telcos own stores more profitable, and obviously the newly formed Dixons Carphone will benefit significantly too."


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