UK stores escape unharmed as Vodafone axes 1,100 sites across Europe
Vodafone is preparing for 40% of its sales to be made online by 2021.
The UK high street escaped another round of cuts, as Vodafone said it would close more than 1,100 stores across Europe.
At an event in Dusseldorf on Tuesday, chief executive Nick Read said the firm will close 15% of its 7,700 European stores as it prepares to move more sales online.
But a spokesman confirmed to PA the damage will not extend to Britain, where the group recently said it would open 24 new stores this year and 50 next year.
“In the UK, we are increasing the number of new stores whilst at the same time introducing new digital online services such as TOBi – our digital personal assistant.
“Our customers are increasingly researching products and services on their smartphone or PC, and then following up with a visit to a store to make the purchase,” the spokesman said.
Vodafone said its £5.5 million investment in new UK shops will create more than 100 jobs, and it is trying to find 50 more locations for next year.
Mr Read said the company thinks that two fifths of its sales will come from digital channels by 2021.
“If you believe that 40% of your transactions are going to be digital, then how does that impact why someone goes to a store.
“The journeys and the purpose of the store changes,” Mr Read said at a press briefing in Germany, according to Reuters.
The company is looking to make major changes to two fifths of its European stores by 2021.
Some of them will be transformed into click-and-collect stores, while others will offer new experiences to customers.
It is a rare piece of good news for a UK high street beset with problems.
On Monday analysis from the British Retail Consortium and auditor KPMG showed that last month was the worst September on record for British retailers.
Like-for-like sales dropped 1.7%.