Rethinking retail: T-Mobile lays off around 600 retail staff


According to reports, the layoffs primarily affect territorial retail managers and retail dealers

According to recent reports, a unknown number of T-Mobile’s retail stores have been closed and around 600 retail staff members have been laid off, according to estimates from analyst Jeff Moore of Wave7 Research.

The job cuts primarily appear to affect territorial retail managers and those involved with retail dealers and indirect retail sales.

Staff impacted by these job cuts have already been informed and, in many cases, have the option to reapply for their old jobs under a new title.

This news shortly follows a recent blog post from T-Mobile entitled ‘We’re Reshaping Retail in a Digital‑First World’, in which T-Mobile’s President of Consumer Group Jon Freier explained a shift away from one-size-fits-all stores and towards a more personalised, multi-channel retail experience for customers.

“Is brick-and-mortar retail dead? Here’s what I think: Yes, the way we’ve known it is dead. But it’s because physical shopping is changing – yet again – and will deliver experiences that will surprise and delight customers in ways that are more innovative than ever,” he explained.

He went on to explain that delivering this new experience would require the company to focus on “four distinct brick-and-mortar store formats that will serve customers’ different needs”:

Signature stores, which serve as brand showrooms and host events and product launches.
Experience stores, which will feature the “latest and broadest assortment of T-Mobile products and services”, as well as being staffed by the company’s Mobile Experts. Freier says this will be the fastest growing format.
Neighbourhood stores, which are more localised and offer a more limited selection of products and services.
Express stores, a new format

T-Mobile will also expand their mobile truck fleet, which primarily serves to provide customers in hard-to-reach areas with support and retail services, often ahead of the opening of a brick-and-mortar outlet.

The operator will also focus on branded kiosks within larger retail outlets, such as Costco stores.

Naturally, the blog post makes no reference to job cuts as a result of this strategic shift.

T-Mobile reportedly has around 7,000 retains outlets across the US – a figure which the operator says is growing, despite these recent cuts.

It should be noted that T-Mobile is far from alone when it comes to laying off staff in recent months. In the US, T-Mobile’s largest rivals, Verizon and AT&T, have both announced job cuts in the latter half of 2022, primarily as cost-cutting measures aimed at refocussing funds elsewhere.

Similar tales of job cuts as a cost-cutting measure can be found in numerous global markets, with many of the world’s largest telcos feeling the financial pressures posed by strong market competition, supply chain issues, and the global economic downturn. Earlier this month, for example, Vodafone Group said it would cut hundreds of jobs, with the company’s London office expected to face the biggest cutbacks.

So, is high street retail dead for telcos? Not exactly, but it is undoubtedly an area viewed as ripe for restructuring in the face of shifting customer expectations – and if cost savings via job cuts can be derived from this new strategy, then so much the better.

How is the US telecoms market shifting in 2023? Join the experts in discussion at the upcoming Connected America conference live in Dallas, Texas

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