Sainsbury‘s is set to abandon its Phone Shop offering, slashing 160 jobs amid a “significant period of change”.
The retailer has announced a 45-day consultation period as it sells 16 of its Phone Shops to EE and pulls the shutters on the other 22.
Despite stating they will “redeploy them where possible”, 160 shop workers along with 15 members of Sainsbury‘s central telecoms team will face the prospect of redundancy.
This comes just a year after the retailer pulled the plug on its Mobile by Sainsbury‘s service.
“Our business is going through a significant period of change and growth, most notably with the recent acquisition of Home Retail Group,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson stated.
“While a number of Argos outlets have been relocated within our stores, we‘ve also carried out a commercial review of the other in-store services we provide.
“Following this review, we have now agreed a commercial partnership with EE who will take over a number of Phone Shop by Sainsbury‘s. Some Phone Shops will be closing.
“We are now consulting with all affected colleagues and will look to redeploy them where possible.”
Joanne McGuinness from retail union Usdaw said: “Since the company closed their Mobile by Sainsbury‘s service in January 2016, we and the staff were aware that they were looking at options and that review has resulted in a new partnership with EE.
“We will now enter into consultation talks with Sainsbury‘s, starting Monday for at least 45 days, where we will be looking at the business case for this proposal.
“Our priorities are to keep as many staff as possible employed within the business, seek suitable redeployment opportunities where necessary and avoid redundancies.”
The move comes amid ongoing integration of Argos into the Sainsbury‘s estate, following last year‘s £1.4 billion acquisition.