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Fonehouse nears network full-house

Paul Withers
March 1, 2011

Retailer to make B2B connections through O2 and consumer connections through Orange, adding to existing relationships with T-Mobile and Vodafone

Fonehouse will have almost a full collection of mobile networks across its consumer and B2B divisions in the coming weeks, a large part of its plan to be the third-largest high street mobile retailer by the end of next year.

The retailer, which has over 50 stores nationwide, connects both T-Mobile and Vodafone. From March 1 it will connect B2B connections through O2, with Orange following on consumer and B2B connections on April 1. Fonehouse said it may also make B2B connections through Three from the same date.

Fonehouse recently signalled its intent to have about 170 stores open by the end of 2012. It is seeking to capitalise on its raised profile from Channel 4 documentary Mary Portas: Secret Shopper, which revealed the retailer is on a major store re-fit programme to create a ‘sit down and relax mentality’.

Fonehouse aims to add three partners a month to its franchise programme until the end of the year, and a further 90 stores next year. It also said it was confident of growing sales by 80 per cent before the start of next year, raising turnover to about £45 million in the next 12 months.

Fonehouse managing director Clive Bayley said: “The addition of networks is a result of our new store roll-outs. We want to be selling everything. However, the focus will still be with T-Mobile and Vodafone and we’re not going to tilt in any way to a new network. We’ve told the networks our volume numbers will increase due to the shops we’re opening.”

Fonehouse is also building a mock store within its head office in Fulham, West London, featuring the new shop layout currently being rolled out. The structure will be used purely for training purposes and not be open to the public.

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