ALMOST 30 jobs have been saved across Wearside with news that four Phones4U stores have been snapped up by mobile operators Vodafone and EE.
Financial specialists PwC were appointed administrators after the collapse of the firm last week.
The initial outlook for thousands of staff working in about 560 stores nationwide was bleak but now deals have been struck which will see the two operators take over almost 200 stores, safeguarding more than 1,200 jobs.
Vodafone will take over the Sunderland, Washington and Chester-le-Street stores, protecting 23 jobs, while another five posts will be protected with EE’s take-over of the Peterlee shop.
However, the Durham store, which employs four people, will close.
PwC issued a short statement yesterday, confirming the deals had received legal approval.
“The administrators are pleased to confirm earlier announcements regarding the transfer of more than 2,000 staff, working in 198 P4U stores and 160 concessions.
“The transaction was subject to court approval which has now been received and these transactions are now being finalised.
“Unfortunately, there is limited interest in the balance of the estate. This comprises 363 stores.
“Regretfully, as a result, the administrators announce that those stores will close permanently and 1,697 staff employed at these locations will be made redundant.
“Another 720 people have been retained in the short term to assist with the closure programme.”
Rob Hunt, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “It is with much regret that we have today made the difficult decision to close a large number of stores. It is a very sad day for the staff and our thoughts are with them.
“We will make every effort to help the affected staff, working with the Phones 4u HR team.”