Telecoms group strikes deal for 47 shops
Telecoms group Orange is to step up its presence on the high street after acquiring 47 shops from rival operator O2, to support a push into new product categories.

The deal, which has been agreed in principle and will be thrashed out over the next few weeks, will increase Orange's store portfolio to more than 340 stores.

Orange intends to refit the stores as Orange Retail by Christmas. Next year, as part of a major refresh of the Orange Retail portfolio, the stores will be used to showcase new Orange products and services, as the company evolves from being a mobile operator into a mobile, fixed, broadband and TV provider.

Most of the acquired sites are The Link stores, following O2's agreement (subject to regulatory approval) to acquire all of The Link retail shops from DSGi earlier this year.

Orange vice-president of sales Mike Newnham said: 'From home TV to a combined home and mobile phone, Orange will soon be offering exciting services that will change the way our customers communicate with each other and interact with the information and entertainment services they love.

'Orange Retail is the most personal and direct way we interact with our customers. It has always been an integral part of the Orange marketing and sales strategy.'

He added: 'This year has been a year of consolidation and building for the future and behind the scenes our retail strategy has been a major part of that. We're now planning to expand our footprint across Britain's high streets.'

The stores will take Orange to a further 19 towns where it doesn't have a presence and will increase its coverage in other key locations.

As part of the deal, Orange expects to retain about 250 staff from The Link.