O2, one Europe’s largest mobile telecoms company, has announced it is to shut 40 of its 490 high street shops and begin segmenting its retail estate into three tiers, according to their footfall and sales.

The company has claimed that store closures and redundancies will not affect overall investment or overall staff numbers in 2011 as it looks to focus on technical support for customers.

Shops will be ranked, with the biggest and busiest in the top tier. Small shops, which will bear the brunt of the forthcoming closures, will be ranked in the third tier, while medium-sized stores will be ranked in the second tier.

The closures will run alongside an estimated 400 redundancies across the business over the next quarter.

The group said it will recruit 250 technology advisers, at the same time, bringing its number of ‘Gurus’ to 400 in total.

O2 UK retail general manager Richard Baylis said of the decision, “This is a whole new approach for our retail business, starting from a position of strength and with the customer at the heart.

“Our increased investment, store redesign and introduction of 250 extra Gurus will really help make sales and service inseparable for the customer and subsequently deliver a better experience.

“And our staff will be empowered to deliver that experience, using their expertise to graduate through the ranks of a three-tiered O2 store portfolio.”

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com