Sainsbury’s is axing Phone Shops from its supermarkets following a review of its “in-store services”, putting 160 jobs at risk.
The grocer is closing all 38 of its Phone Shops, 16 of which will be sold to mobile phone operator EE.
The remaining 22 will be shuttered, in a move affecting 160 staff.
A further 15 workers at Sainsbury’s central telecoms team based in Coventry have also been placed at risk of redundancy.
Sainsbury’s, which closed down its Mobile by Sainsbury’s service just over a year ago, has launched a 45-day consultation period with affected employees.
The retailer insisted it would redeploy staff “where possible”.
Sainsbury’s move comes as it focuses on integrating the Argos and Habitat businesses into its larger supermarkets, following the £1.4bn acquisition of Home Retail Group last September.
The grocer is also installing collection points and other services such as sushi bars into its bigger sheds as part of boss Mike Coupe’s vision to create “the supermarket of the future”.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “Our business is going through a significant period of change and growth, most notably with the recent acquisition of HRG.
“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 shop workers 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.”
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