High street retailers Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U have cut back sales targets for stores significantly, in some cases by up to 40 per cent.
The moves follow big increases in store targets in the run up to Christmas. Store staff claimed poor Christmas sales have prompted both retailers to bring targets crashing down again, less than half-way through January sales.
Carphone Warehouse, however, responded that Christmas trading had been robust, and refuted the early cuts to targets had anything to do with sales during the period.
A Carphone Warehouse spokesman said: “We are not slashing targets. January is moving into our fourth quarter which means targets will be different. Our Q3 targets will of course be higher than Q4’s because of the run up to Christmas. Targets will change in January but we cannot reveal how much they are down by.”
But Carphone Warehouse staff maintained January targets have been slashed by around 40 per cent because of slower-than-usual sales over the traditionally busy Christmas period, chiefly as a result of the economic recession and parsimonious spending.
One smaller store reported a decrease in sales targets from around £32,000 per month to £20,000. Staff greeted the move with some relief. They claimed sales were down year-on-year.
Phones 4U staff said store sales targets for January have also dropped across the board by up to 15 per cent. The chain’s major ‘A1’ flagship London stores have targets of around £110,000 in total sales for January, a drop of £10,000 since last month.
But Phones 4U staff said the cuts are on the back of unrealistic Christmas sales targets, which were hiked by more than in previous years despite the economic climate, and will continue to stretch them.
Said one staffer: “Sales were very low compared to last year. Targets were increased and very difficult to achieve. Targets were not realistic – how can the company increase the target for last month’s sales when everyone has been talking about the credit crunch and the fact that sales will be low?”
Meanwhile, Carphone executives informed store managers via internal memos early January that stores may not recruit more staff or allow current staffers to work overtime because of budgetry constraints.
Carphone denied a recruitment freeze and any change to its staffing budget.