Mobile telecommunications provider EE has announced plans to close 78 of its 704 retail outlets in the UK.
Last year, the company – which is the result of the merger of Orange and T-Mobile UK – rebranded all of its retail outlets was ‘EE’ stores.
This meant that some stores are very close together, the company said today. "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," it said in a statement.
An EE spokesperson said the company began a 30-day consultation period on Monday to decide which stores will close from February onwards.
Front-line staff at EE’s 704 stores will be reallocated to other outlets after the closures, EE said, and affected managers will be redeployed "where possible".
After the closures, EE will be left with 626 outlets after the closures. That figure puts the company behind Carphone Warehouse, which has over 800 stores in the UK, and Phones4U, with over 600. O2 has over 464 retail outlets in the UK, while Three UK has 350.
In August, communications regulator Ofcom granted the company permission to provide the first nationwide mobile 4G services from September last year.
According to an article by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, AT&T is considering buying a counterpart in Europe, with EE lined up in a potential move, according to "people familiar with the carrier’s thinking".