265 Phones 4U stores vacant a year after collapse of retailer

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Report from administrator PWC shows 2,503 people were left unemployed and £7m spent on legal fees following fall of retail giant

It was a year to the day since Phones 4U collapsed, but a report from administrator PriceWaterhouseCooper shows 265 former stores remain unoccupied.

On September 15 last year, Phones 4U parent company BC Partners placed the mobile retailer into administration, leaving its 563 stores and 5,592 jobs in jeopardy.

According to PWC, nearly half of those stores remain vacant twelve months after the controversial collapse, which came after both EE and Vodafone declined to extend existing agreements with the retailer.

140 stores were bought by Vodafone, who also took on 876 employees, in a £12.5 million agreement. EE picked up 58 stores and 356 staff for £2.5 million.

As of July 20, all but 14 of the 5,592 staff employed by Phones 4u when it collapsed had been transferred to other employment, left of their own accord or been made redundant.

Those employees who filed for protective award claims against Phones 4U have now been transferred to one larger case to be seen a a single employment tribunal in Birmingham.

Phones 4u also operated 161 concession stores in Currys/ PC World outlets across the UK, but these and 788 staff were taken over by rival Carphone Warehouse. Carphone merged with Dixons last year to form Dixons Carphone, which owns Currys/PC World.

According to the report, all but a handful of the 198 stores sold to the operators have now been successfully integrated, with the rest likely to be completed shortly.

Of the 365 stores not assigned, PWC have acquired premiums on the surrender of leases of just 20 – worth £739,000.

PWC last issued a report in April, and since then it has sold £2.9 million worth of Nokia phones from leftover stock sold through auction.

Receipts of £32.5 million has been received from network operator agreements made before the collapse, including £20.5 million during this reporting period.

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