Industry resilient to weather woes

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The mobile industry across all channels claims to have seen minimal disruption from the freezing weather conditions over the past week

Distributors have claimed they have experienced issues with deliveries for certain areas, particularly those in the northern parts of the UK, but business has been largely unaffected.

HSC business manager Bob Sweetlove claimed all staff have made it to work and apart from a few postcodes, which its delivery vehicles have been unable to access, business has not been hit.

Handset distributor Data Select claimed impact has been minimal also, with deliveries in some areas delayed by “hours” rather than “days”. Its head office in Slough it said, has seen little snowfall.

In addition Data Select says it has contingency measures in place to allow for staff to leave early should “significant” snowfall be forecast and retain those who live within walking distance only.

Stranded staff will be offered local overnight accommodation if required it said.

Data Select claimed it has learned lessons from previous experiences with snow last January when senior members of staff including chief commercial officer Roy Taylor and head of marketing Jason Kemp were forced to spend a night in the office and two in the Marlow Crowne Plaza.

Retailer Phones 4U and operator O2 praised its staff for their efforts in getting to work and enabling stores to trade. It is however operating a reduced service in its contact centres based in heavily hit areas including Leeds, Bury and Glasgow.

Phones 4U said more than 90 per cent of its 480 stores have continued to trade, and claimed its store manager in its Hill Street store in Middlesborough walked 12 miles through 12 inches of snow to open the store.

Phones 4u retail director Nick Fisher commented: “The fact that over 90 per cent of our 480 plus store estate has continued to operate as normal during the icy weather conditions is testament to the tenacity and commitment demonstrated by our people to not only our customers during this time, but the Phones 4u business too.”

An o2 spokesperson said: “Wherever possible, our retail people fought their way through the snow to open for business. The vast majority of our retail stores were open for business as usual.

“A handful of retail stores closed early or opened late, or both, while another handful were regrettably unable to open at all.”

O2 and Vodafone reported an increase in traffic from customers as a result of the weather. O2 saw text message traffic increase on December 1 by 15 per cent with picture messaging increasing by 20 per cent also.

Vodafone said it saw the number of calls during yesterday increase by 17 per cent, whilst use of its 3G home signal booster Sure Signal, for people working at home, was up 50 per cent.

Vodafone also saw the number of picture messages sent grow by 63 per cent to more than 250,000, with numbers sent between 6am-12am up by 155 per cent.

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