Carphone Warehouse considers closing its stores in Ireland

Retailer recently lost Vodafone as a partner and has been in discussions with Eir

Carphone Warehouse on Grafton Street, Dublin. The retailer has more than 80 stores in the Republic. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Carphone Warehouse on Grafton Street, Dublin. The retailer has more than 80 stores in the Republic. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Carphone Warehouse is considering closing its chain of more than 80 stores in the Republic with a decision expected in a matter of weeks, The Irish Times has learned.

The move comes just over a month after Vodafone, the State’s largest mobile operator, said it was to stop selling phones or plans through the retailer. It also follows discussions with Eir over its future relationship, and comes after its parent company shuttered more than 530 stores across Britain last year with nearly 3,000 job losses.

Many of the group’s mobile phones services in Britain are now sold from Carphone Warehouse outlets located within Currys PC World stores as well as online. The Irish subsidiary is believed to be considering a similar approach here.

Any decision taken by Carphone Warehouse, which agreed a £3.8 billion (€4.3 billion) merger with Dixons in 2014, is not expected to impact on its sister companies. Currys PC World has 10 stores locally.

‘One-stop shop’

Carphone Warehouse has served as a “one-stop shop” selling phones and plans on behalf of all the biggest mobile operators. The loss of Vodafone as a partner was a big blow to the company, as is the rise in popularity of no-frills budget mobile brands such as GoMo (Eir), 48 (Three) and Clear (Vodafone), which are not available through the retailer.

Carphone Warehouse declined to comment about its future here. Eir, which has been in negotiations with the chain recently, declined to discuss its relationship with the retailer.

Three, which has 2.6 million customers locally, said it is “committed to continuing to work with Carphone Warehouse here in Ireland”.

The retailer has had mixed success in the Republic, particularly in recent years. In 2018, it wound up its own mobile brand, iD Mobile, three years after it was launched after it failed to attract enough customers to be viable.

Carphone Warehouse invested €20 million in the brand amid plans to gain 5-6 per cent market share.

The company recorded turnover of €101.7 million in the 12 months to the end of April 2019 and a pre-tax loss of €1.5 million. It employed more than 580 people here at that time. However, as with other retailers, the company’s stores have largely stay closed over the past year due to the pandemic.