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EE to close 78 high street stores by May as part of a retail shake-up

EE has announced plans to close a total of 78 of its high street stores by May 2013 as part of a ‘refocusing’ of its retail plan.

Everything Everywhere, the company behind the Orange, T-Mobile and now EE networks, decided to transform all existing stores across the UK into EE branded stores. This resulted in there suddenly being multiple EE stores in the same town or city, where previously there might have been a couple Orange and T-Mobile stores. Now it seems there’s an EE store everywhere you turn.

The group is looking to change its plans for retail, starting with the closure of 78 stores across the nation, which represents 11% of its total 700 stores. It’s estimated that a whopping £50 million was spent on transforming Orange and T-Mobile stores into EE ones throughout the past 6 months to prepare for the launch of the UK’s first 4G network.

The news isn’t all doom and gloom for EE employees though, with a plan being laid out to move staff to other stores. With several stores in one place now being common practice we can’t see staff being moved too far, either.

By cutting 78 stores, EE will be left with a still-healthy total of 626, which is more than O2, Vodafone and Three. A statement from an EE spokesperson explained the idea behind the changes;

“We are determined to maintain momentum, and continue to drive growth. Consequently we have reviewed our retail estate to improve the service our customers are receiving on the high street.

“As part of this, where we have two EE stores in very close proximity to each other – in some places they are just a door away – we have decided to consolidate. This makes commercial sense and will also help us manage the high levels of demand in our stores and improve the customer experience.”

EE recently added the UK’s smallest 4G smartphone to its roster in the form of the HTC One SV, which you can check out right here.