Vodafone to cull EU stores as it pushes digital channels - Mobile World Live

Vodafone to cull EU stores as it pushes digital channels

09 OCT 2019

Vodafone Group confirmed it would shed 15 per cent of its European retail footprint as part of a broader review designed to boost customer experience, but told Mobile World Live (MWL) it is yet to work out details for specific markets.

Reuters and other media outlets reported the operator planned to shut more than 1,000 European stores as part of a broader move to update its retail offering. The news agency stated CEO Nick Read outlined its plans at a briefing yesterday (8 October), as it looks to match the levels of customer service offered by tech giants including Apple and Amazon.

A Vodafone representative explained the move was part of previously announced plans to “increase digitalisation across all group functions, including improving the customer experience”. While confirming 15 per cent of its European stores would close, the representative explained it is too early to discuss plans for specific markets in the region because Vodafone is only just at the beginning of its review process.

The representative highlighted Vodafone operates 7,700 stores globally, noting Reuters had cited this figure as representing just its European footprint.

Over the next 18 months, Vodafone will use big data analysis to determine the “optimal retail footprint”, an approach it had trialled in Spain.

“An important element of this is the increasing number of our customers who wish to buy from us online”, the representative explained, adding the operator expects around 40 per cent of its sales to come from its digital channel by end-March 2021.

In addition to closures, the operator expects to transform almost half of its European outlets “into larger experience/flagship stores, express stores, or click and collect kiosks”.

Reuters noted a recently announced plan to add 24 new retail outlets in the UK is unaffected by the broader European review.



Michael Carroll

Michael doesn’t want to admit that he has been a journalist and editor for close to 20 years covering a diverse set of subjects including shipping and shipbuilding, fixed and mobile telecoms, and motorcycling...More

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