Jobs at risk as Phones 4u enters administration

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Scores of jobs are at risk in the city after mobile phone seller Phones 4u went into administration.

The chain made the announcement yesterday after network operators severed ties with the retailer.

Phones 4u operated four stores in Leeds, including three in the city centre. A message in the window of its Briggate branch made clear it would not be opening and was signed “The heartbroken Phones 4u team”.

Nationally a total 5,600 employees are hanging by a thread as administrators began talks on whether any stores can re-open.

The corporate restructuring team from PwC said it was hopeful that it will be able to pay all the outstanding wage arrears but that this was dependent on accessing funds to pay for the costs of the business.

PwC partner Rob Hunt said: “Our initial focus will be to quickly engage with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the business, and to better understand the financial position and options for the company. The stores will remain closed while we have these conversations.

“We will also be talking to network operators and suppliers, and trying to access funds to pay for the costs of the business, including wages.”

The collapse of Phones 4u, which has 700 outlets including around 550 standalone stores, follows EE’s decision to join Vodafone in cutting ties with the retailer, which sells contracts on behalf of the network operators.

Staff were told to turn up for work today in order to attend briefings with management but the stores remained closed.

Entrepreneur John Caudwell, who set up the operation in the 1980s before selling it for £1.5 billion in 2006, said he was “sickened and saddened” for the nearly 6,000 staff who work at the Staffordshire-based firm.

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