Virgin Mobile SA to close 30 of 38 stores

Virgin Mobile South Africa says it will close 30 of its current 38 stores across the country, as part of a plan to revise its distribution footprint.

A spokesperson for the group told BusinessTech that the impact on staff “will be very low” as “the balance of stores will be handed over to franchisees, to be used for other purposes.”

Excluding the franchised stores, Virgin Mobile SA says it employs approximately 200 people, and a “number” of temporary staff, mostly for its call centre operations.

The company recently became part of the larger ‘Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa’ group (VMMEA), following a merger agreement with Friendi Group in June.

“An important benefit of this change for Virgin Mobile in South Africa is a renewed focus on delivering a true Virgin customer experience at every customer touch point,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday (31 July).

Virgin Mobile says it aims to deliver an “improved and differentiated customer experience” by leveraging VMMEA best practice and investment in improved systems and processes across all aspects of Virgin Mobile South Africa’s operations.

It notes that the initiative has already kicked off and is expected to conclude during the first half of 2013.

Virgin Mobile SA says it will initially reduce its store footprint to fewer stores in key locations in each region and then, over the next 18 months, roll out additional physical points of sale across the country.

The mobile operator says it aims to convert eight key stores from sales focused franchise stores into full service stores offering our entire range of products and services including sales, renewals, upgrades and customer service and advice.

“The company will also be offering online sales and service through a new improved website and is exploring new, alternative sales channels that make sense for customers,” it said.

Virgin Mobile South Africa’s key store locations will be as follows: Gauteng – Eastgate, Southgate, Key West and Cedar Square; Western Cape – Canal Walk; Kwa-Zulu Natal – Pavillion, Galleria; Limpopo – Mall of the North.

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Virgin Mobile SA to close 30 of 38 stores