Low staff levels and stock shortages are preventing Phones 4U stores from hitting sales targets, staffers claimed last month.
Sales targets have been an ongoing concern for store staff since December as a number of stores claim targets have not been reduced in line with the slowdown in post-Christmas sales.
In London, Phones 4U staff levels are at a record low and turnover is high, staff said. An average store employs eight staff, but staff who leave are rarely replaced, leaving several stores with just four or five sales consultants; sometimes just two.
One London-based store manager said: “Staff levels are at the lowest I’ve seen in the business in the past six years. We’re a medium-sized store and only have two members of staff on a daily basis. We’ve no full-time staff and there are several other stores in London with the same problem. We’re missing out on valuable sales and face performance discussions with regional directors.”
Staff across the retail estate also said stock shortages of the BlackBerry Curve 8900 ‘Javelin’ and Nokia 5800 ‘Tube’ have also prevented stores from hitting sales targets.
They said the handsets have generated a lot of interest. A staffer said: “Those two handsets are selling really well. We’re forced to turn down sales because we don’t know when the handsets are going to be in stock.”
Another said: “Usually a store can request an IBT [Inter-branch transfer] of a handset if it is out of stock. It is virtually impossible to do that for the Tube or Javelin because the few stores that have it in stock are miles away, or need the stock themselves.”
Nokia denied any stock shortage issues and said it is not aware of any problems at Phones 4U.
Phones 4U was unavailable for comment at press.
The news coincided with the retailer’s announcement last week that up to 290 staff face redundancy. However Phones 4U said it hopes to redeploy around 200 to customer-facing roles.