Carphone to ‘streamline’ business


The Carphone Warehouse will not be cutting stores as its seeks to streamline its business, it said this morning following the announcement that it it is to cut up to 450 office-based roles in the UK.

However Carphone UK chief executive Andrew Harrison said many of the people whose jobs may go could be redeployed in other areas of the business.

For example, the arrival of US electronics chain Best Buy to the UK as a 50 per cent shareholder of Carphone’s retail business will create 1,000 new jobs over the next 15 months.

Harrison also told Mobile News that there were no plans to reduce the retail head count or close any more stores than would be reviewed in the normal course of business, which at the moment stands at up to 30.

Harrison said: “We’ve announced robust figures and the business is in good shape. But as we look forward, the next 18 months are going to be difficult in retail and in mobile. Only the businesses that take action now and who are the leanest and fittest will be the ones that survive.”

Harrison said that prices were under pressure so rather than wait, the company was looking at growing in different ways.

“We have grown over the last 10 years and never had the chance to reflect on how we are structured. It’s not just about a people cost-reduction strategy. It’s about changing how we do things.”

Harrison said most of the planned cost savings would come from streamlining back office systems and call centres by making better use of the internet and encouraging more self-help from staff and customers.

“We’d like to do things simpler – using systems to solve problems rather than people. We have tended to overcomplicate things. For example we stock 340 products but only a small proportion make up a significant part of the profit. So we will start looking at our core range. We could make our supply chain more efficient and carry less stock in store.”