Virgin Media's UK highstreet stores won't reopen after the current Covid-19 lockdown is phased out. It currently operates 53 bricks and mortar stores in the UK, employing 341 people. All staff will be offered newly created roles in the organisation in customer care and sales.
The Covid-19 pandemic has served to hasten a strategy shift that Virgin Media was already in the midst of. It had been putting more efforts into more consumer engagement online and over the phone. Virgin Media has observed over recent weeks / months that its call centres staff have been rather successful as they WFH, rather than from a call centre. Due to this the majority of the 341 ex-shop staff will be offered WFH roles in customer care (approx 290). Meanwhile about 50 will be offered field sales roles.
"We are focused on delivering the service customers want, in the ways they want it and at a time and place that suits them," said Rob Orr, an executive director for sales at Virgin Media. "By creating new jobs in our most popular care and sales channels, we will be better able to provide our customers with the top service and support they rightly expect while retaining our talented workforce."
In related news, Virgin Media has been expanding its workforce, creating 1,500 roles in the past two months, a mix of approx 500 more in contact centre work, and 700 more in install and service functions, as well as several hundred in other positions.
In the background, and also probably weighing on the bricks and mortar decision, is the recently agreed merger between Virgin Media and O2. The 50:50 joint venture will create a new TV, broadband, and mobile powerhouse and O2 probably has enough high-street presence for this purpose already.