Phones 4U staff said last week reduced footfall and constant targets have seen them return to aggressive old sales tactics, despite the retailer being rapped by Ofcom and Trading Standards for mis-selling.
But store staff maintained they had been forced to abandon Phones 4U’s recent attempts to steer away from the image of pushy sales as footfall has reduced by around a quarter since the summer.
One London store staffer said: “Sales consultants are supposed to sit at desks and wait for a sales floor controller to bring a customer to them, but this is hardly ever the case. Staff still stand at the front of the store, like we used to, and try to get a customer’s attention.
“We have less customers coming in so we need to bring footfall up somehow; we can’t just rely on our deals being competitive. The other problem is the customers who do come in aren’t buying, but browsing – we need to be pushy to hit targets.”
One staffer said she has heard of some stores employing ‘fruit-and-veg’ tactics. “Staff shout, ‘We have the right deal for you’, or, ‘Free phones in stock’ to get the public’s attention.”
Other sources claimed some stores are staying open up to four hours after the normal closing time, in a bid to hit targets.
Phones 4U retail director John Welsh (pictured) said targets have remained the same regardless of the further reduction in footfall reported by staff. “I do not condone stores staying open late. It is the store manager’s discretion, but Phones 4U is against managers acting in this way and it is not the norm.”
He added: “We haven’t reduced targets and we know the market is tough. We look at profit and targets on a regular basis and we speak to store managers to see what the issues are if they’re not hitting targets.”
A Phones 4U spokesperson said: “We’ve given staff more autonomy to do their jobs in the way they know works best.”