EE and Vodafone have snapped up almost 200 stores previously owned by now-defunct phone seller Phones4u, after being accused of directly contributing to its demise.
In a statement Vodafone confirmed that it has taken over 140 stores and has offered 900 employees jobs with the company. Vodafone said these stores would be rebranded and reopened as soon as possible.
EE has since announced that it has purchased 58 stores and has offered 359 staff jobs, with the new stores to be rebranded and reopened within the next week. EE did not say where the new stores are based.
The deals are subject to court approvals but it seems unlikely that any hiccups will occur.
The move comes just a week after the shock announcement that Phones4u was to close after EE and Vodafone both refused to renew their contracts with the company.
Chief executive of Phones4u David Kassler was critical of EE and Vodafone at the time, claiming it was the firms’ actions alone that caused Phones4u’s downfall.
“Today is a very sad day for our customers and our staff. If the mobile network operators decline to supply us, we do not have a business. A good company making profits of over £100m, employing thousands of decent people has been forced into administration,” he said.
Both EE and Vodafone denied causing the problems but, with the firm gone, both have jumped at the chance to snap up some extra retail estate and ready-trained phone-selling staff to boost their high-street presence.