Cutting Room: Everything Everywhere but unknown

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Jasper Jackson is surprised that Everything Everywhere took so long to announce its retail restructure, which now adds pressure on the company to address the future of the Orange and T-Mobile plans

Everything Everywhere’s (EE) plan to consolidate 31 of its T-Mobile and Orange stores into combined outlets and reshape its retail management may be painful for some, but it is surprising that the changes haven’t come sooner.

Any company hoping to find £3.5 billion in synergy savings from a corporate merger is not likely to tolerate running duplicate stores serving the same customer base and effectively competing against one another for passing trade.

The firm’s retail operation has so far been relatively sheltered from the changes at the company, with the vast majority of cuts hitting operations behind the scenes.

The impact of the store consolidation on staff is tiny compared to the more than 1,700 job losses that have taken place at the company since the merger.

Only a handful of store manager positions are set to be eliminated while remaining store staff are protected for the time being.

Of course, though EE says it will still expand its retail estate where necessary, it also seems likely that further store consolidations will take place.

The firm’s total store count, currently standing at more than 750, will surely drop further, and more roles are likely to be lost.

Yet while the move makes perfect business sense, it will add pressure on EE to address the future of its T-Mobile and Orange brands.

Huge swathes of the UK population are still unaware that the two brands are now run by the same company, including many of Everything Everywhere’s own customers.

Separate ad campaigns and different marketing messages mean that the two brands are still far apart in the public consciousness.

But introducing 31 new combined EE stores across the country will inevitably have a big impact on the brand’s public perception.

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