Virgin Media is to place more emphasis on opening new own-brand Virgin Media stores to drive sales following the collapse of retail chains Woolworths and Zavvi, which were key Virgin Mobile outlets.
Around 800 Woolworths stores and 85 Zavvi stores stocked Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile products before both chains went into administration in January.
Mobile News understands Virgin Media is to boost its store rollout strategy to regain its high street presence. The company is looking to take advantage of low rental prices prompted by the recession and seeking opportunities that offer good value.
It opened its latest new Virgin Media store in Birmingham last month.
Meanwhile, the company has confirmed Virgin Media head of sales Ian Driver will act in former sales director Rob Shardlow’s position following his departure this month.
Shardlow quit after almost nine years with the business.
As Virgin Mobile sales and distribution director, Shardlow was part of the senior management team that first launched the MVNO into the prepay market.
Since NTL’s £962 million purchase of Virgin Mobile in 2006, and its subsequent rebranding as Virgin Media, Shardlow took the role of indirect sales director and headed up its quad-play mobile, internet, fixed line and television offensive in third-party retail.
Shardlow said: “I’ve had a ball within Virgin: it’s a great company, with wonderful people, a unique culture and an exciting future. However, I believe the time is right to move on. I wish the business every success and would like to thank my many friends and contacts within the industry for making the last nine years such an enjoyable and memorable experience.”
Virgin Media managing director of consumer sales Pete Taddeo said: “Rob has been a great ambassador for the brand and has made a tremendous contribution to the business. He leaves us in great shape and I wish him every success in the future.”