4G MOBILE OPERATOR EE announced plans today to close 78 of its UK shops to streamline operations and improve customers' in-store experiences.
Don't worry, EE isn't following in the footsteps of HMV and Blockbuster. Instead, the mobile network is shutting down stores where there is another store in close proximity - after all, many T-Mobile and Orange outlets were rebranded as EE shops towards the end of last year.
In a statement sent to The INQUIRER, an EE spokesperson said, "Following the successful launch of EE, and the rebranding of former Orange and T-Mobile stores last year, we are determined to maintain momentum, and continue to drive growth.
"Consequently we have reviewed our retail estate to improve the service our customers are receiving on the high street.
"As part of this, where we have two EE stores in very close proximity to each other - in some places they are just a door away - we have decided to consolidate. This makes commercial sense and will also help us manage the high levels of demand in our stores and improve the customer experience.
What's more, EE has announced that it will try not to lose any staff in the store closures, as if to prevent more high street job losses.
The spokesperson told us, "All front line staff will be moving to the other store which will boost service levels significantly. A store can only have one manager, so we will look to redeploy the small number of affected managers where possible."
We have asked EE to comment on the success of its store consolidation so far, but it has yet to respond. µ