All standalone Carphone Warehouse stores will shut in the UK and an estimated 2,900 jobs will be slashed, the retailer has announced.
Dixons Carphone said 531 shops will close their doors in a shake-up of their UK mobile business.
Chief executive Alex Baldock said the move comes as customers are increasingly buying online and from its big stores which sell computers and TVs as well as mobiles.
The aim is to return this side of the business, which will lose £90million this year, to profitability.
The news is another blow to the struggling high street, which saw department store chain Beales go into administration in January, putting 23 stores and 1,052 jobs at risk.
“There is never an easy time for an announcement like this, but the turbulent times ahead only underline the importance of acting now, to ensure a business fit for the future,” the company said.
“The business expects almost 40 per cent (1,800) of affected colleagues to take new roles internally, but sadly expects 2,900 redundancies.”
There are Carphone Warehouse shops inside 305 big PC World and Curry’s stores, and these won’t be affected by the changes.
Carphone Warehouse said customers will be be able to go to the big stores for service while mobile offers will still be available online and the carphonewarehouse.com site will remain open.
More than 500 Carphone Warehouse shops will close on 3 April, with the company focusing on its stores inside Currys PCWorlds and its online sales.
Alex Baldock, the group chief executive, said the move served as “the next step in making our UK Mobile business a success for customers, colleagues and other shareholders”.
“Clearly, with unsustainable losses of £90m expected this year, Mobile is currently holding back the whole business,” he said.
Mr Baldock said the company would offer support to employees that will be let go, paying enhanced redundancy, bonuses, and helping them find new jobs.
“I do not underestimate how upsetting this news will be for our colleagues,” he said.
Last year, Dixons Carphone shares plummeted after reporting large losses at its mobile phone shops.
The company said that more consumers were heading online or to in-house stores in Curry PCWorld rather than to their smaller high street shops which are to close.
“Though this is by far the toughest decision we’ve had to make, it is necessary,” Mr Baldock said. “We must follow our customers.”
The announcement comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the UK prime minister urge the British public to avoid non-essential travel and to stay away from pubs and bars.
Dixons Carphone said “trading has not been impacted materially by Covid-19”, the virus that has already infected more than 1,500 people in the UK.
“We are monitoring the situation closely,” the company said. “The turbulent times ahead underline the importance of acting now and staying on track with our longer-term omnichannel transformation of the Group.”
“We’ll pay enhanced redundancy, any bonuses, honour their share awards, and help them find new jobs through an outplacement programme.”
Some analysts have suggested that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a global recession.
In 2018, Carphone Warehouse shut 100 stores as it grappled with changing consumer habits.
In the UK – where the death toll stood at 55 – citizens have been advised to reduce all social contact and to work from home if possible as authorities work to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Last year, it was then fined over £29million for mis-selling phone insurance.
And as recently as January, Dixons Carphone was fined £500,000 after hackers targeted 14million customers following a data breach.