In addition to plans reported in June to make about 960 workers, from a workforce of 2,500, redundant, South African mobile operator Cell C said on Friday that it expects to close around 128 stores across the country.
According to Reuters, this is more than half the company’s retail footprint (about 240 stores) and accounts for close to 550 jobs.
Not surprisingly perhaps, a Cell C spokesperson has pointed to changes in the retail environment and the effects of the coronavirus as part of the reason for the shift from physical retail.
The company is in the process of finalising a recapitalisation plan that it hopes will improve its liquidity and debt profile. As we reported not long ago, the long-planned migration of Cell C’s network traffic to rival operator MTN is planned to go ahead, assuming MTN Group is satisfied that Cell C’s financial situation has stabilised.
This approach would offer a clear saving for Cell C, as would plans to lay off more than 38 per cent of its workforce, although the company has also said it is looking at a number of ways to reskill some of the affected employees.
Cell C has not enjoyed a strong performance in recent years in a market where it lies third to MTN and Vodacom. A turnaround strategy was launched in early 2019.