Saturday, June 15, 2024

‘Shopping is dead’ cry customers as major phone chain to close branch for good

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A MAJOR phone chain is gearing up to close a popular branch and it’s left shoppers saddened. 

Vodafone is set to close its branch in Wilshire by the end of the month. 

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Vodafone is set to close its branch this weekCredit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The branch located in Devizes will close for good this week on May 31. 

Local media reports signs have now been put up in the store saying: “Sorry we’re closing. Our last day will be May 31, 2024”

One user said: “It’s really worrying when even the bug chains can’t survive in a town.”

“Such as shame,” they added. 

Another local said: “Devizes shopping is dead there is nothing here anymore which is sad.”

“The loss of jobs for locals working there is not good news,” said a third user.

The Gazette and Herald say another sign has been put up outside the store which lets customers know they will need to travel to Trowbridge and Marlborough for their closest store from June. 

The Sun has reached out to Vodafone for comment.

Vodafone is not the first phone company to announce branch closures. 

Tesco Mobile closed a branch earlier this year in Tenterden

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The retailer told The Sun the branch was closing due to low customer demand.

Telecoms giant 02 pulled the shutters down on its store in Great Yarmouth late last year.

The brand said the closures were part of a “retail strategy which included assessing its franchise relationships.”

What is happening to the high street?

The high street has been hit hard in recent years as shoppers increasingly turn to online retail.

High energy costs and business rates have further piled pressure on businesses.

This has left some remaining retailers grappling with budgets and having no choice but to close stores.

Several major brands have fallen into administration since the start of 2023, including Wilko and Paperchase.

This year, The Body Shop fell into administration and it has seen dozens of branches close, 82 will have shut in total by the end of the month.

Administrators for Ted Baker have confirmed 15 sites across England will close permanently in a blow to the high street.

Why are retailers closing stores?

RETAILERS have been feeling the squeeze since the pandemic, while shoppers are cutting back on spending due to the soaring cost of living crisis.

High energy costs and a move to shopping online after the pandemic are also taking a toll, and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

The high street has seen a whole raft of closures over the past year, and more are coming.

The number of jobs lost in British retail dropped last year, but 120,000 people still lost their employment, figures have suggested.

Figures from the Centre for Retail Research revealed that 10,494 shops closed for the last time during 2023, and 119,405 jobs were lost in the sector.

It was fewer shops than had been lost for several years, and a reduction from 151,641 jobs lost in 2022.

The centre’s director, Professor Joshua Bamfield, said the improvement is “less bad” than good.

Although there were some big-name losses from the high street, including Wilko, many large companies had already gone bust before 2022, the centre said, such as Topshop owner Arcadia, Jessops and Debenhams.

“The cost-of-living crisis, inflation and increases in interest rates have led many consumers to tighten their belts, reducing retail spend,” Prof Bamfield said.

“Retailers themselves have suffered increasing energy and occupancy costs, staff shortages and falling demand that have made rebuilding profits after extensive store closures during the pandemic exceptionally difficult.”

Alongside Wilko, which employed around 12,000 people when it collapsed, 2023’s biggest failures included Paperchase, Cath Kidston, Planet Organic and Tile Giant.

The Centre for Retail Research said most stores were closed because companies were trying to reorganise and cut costs rather than the business failing.

However, experts have warned there will likely be more failures this year as consumers keep their belts tight and borrowing costs soar for businesses.

The Body Shop and Ted Baker are the biggest names to have already collapsed into administration this year.

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