Telco announced it was closing the successful store network yesterday, admitting it was a “hard decision to make”
Vodafone blamed the move on prioritising spending to improve its network. It was “necessary to remain competitive,” a spokesperson told SmartHouse, Indicating the retailer was a drain on cash.
The telco says it wants to “streamline [its] retail brand offering to one single brand – Vodafone ” and will be closing or rebranding all Crazy John’s stores on 20 February.
“We are continuing to focus our investments on our network to provide customers with better mobile coverage and fewer dropped calls,” said the spokesperson.
Some Crazy John’s stores will close, while others will be transformed into Vodafone stores over the coming months.
However, Crazy John’s existing customers would still be supported.
“There will be no changes to your contract & we remain open for business as usual until Feb 20,” Crazy John’s told worried customers via Twitter.
However, it seems to be a pattern emerging with telcos buying successful retailers and then shutting them down or converting into its own branded stores.
This comes just months after Optus announced it would shut its TeleChoice retail network, its top dealer, and turn them into Optus ‘Yes’ stores instead, and like Voda, said the move was part of a “rationalisation strategy.”
Set up in Victoria in 1991, Crazy John’s employs around 300 staff and its boisterous brand (who can forget the catchy slogan “You must be crazy, John) is one of the most recognisable retailers in Australia, with a store presence on all the main retail thoroughfares, with 60 stores nationwide.
It even received a major thumbs up from customers last year, winning a Canstar ‘Most satisfied customer award’ 2012.
Its wealthy owner, John IIhan, died suddenly in 2007, after which his wife sold the chain to Vodafone, although it originally sold Telstra services.
After a lengthy legal battle, Crazy’s manage to wrange free from Telstra’s grip and sell phones on the Vodafone network. It also hopes to redeploy as many of Crazy John’s 300 employees if possible to Vodafone stores.
Mrs IIhan said she was “disappointed” by Vodafone’s surprise decision this week.
“It’s business as usual for customers – the only difference is they will go to a Vodafone store,” a Voda spokesperson told SmartHouse.