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Virgin Media UK Bids Farewell to the High Street – Shuts Stores

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 (4:08 pm) - Score 26,327
virgin media store

Cable and fibre optic broadband ISP Virgin Media UK has today decided that they will NOT reopen any of their 53 remaining high street retail stores after the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown ends, although all of those impacted by the move (341 staff) will be offered alternative roles within the company.

Arguably the writing for this move has been on the wall for awhile and the operator has already significantly reduced their high street presence. At the start of this year alone Virgin Media revealed that it intended to close 25 more of its stores and kiosks across the United Kingdom (here), but we didn’t expect another bombshell to follow quite so soon.

The simple fact is that most of their customers come from orders made either online or via the phone. On top of that the recent agreement to merge with mobile operator O2 will in theory give them access to a complementary outlet for their fixed line broadband, phone and TV services in the future (here), therefore there’s little reason to retain a dedicated presence for Virgin Media alone, although the operator says this did not impact their decision.

VM has now taken the decision not to reopen any of their 53 remaining high street stores (this includes smaller kiosks) once the COVID-19 lockdown ends. Existing staff will be offered customer service or field sales roles elsewhere.

NOTE: Some 300 customer service roles will be offered to existing store staff and they will be able to work permanently from home.

Rob Orr, VM’s Executive Director of Sales, said:

“We are focused on delivering the service customers want, in the ways they want it and at a time and a place that suits them. 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.”

The operator added that, over the past two months, they have grown their workforce by creating or insourcing more than 1,500 roles. In addition to the roles announced today, this includes recruiting more than 500 people into its UK contact centres and completing the insourcing of all customer-facing install and service activity to further enhance the experience given to customers. This saw Virgin Media increase its directly employed engineer workforce by more than 700 people.

On the upside, there’s now even more space for a further increase in high street charity shops.. yay.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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18 Responses
  1. Roger_Gooner says:

    Before Covid-19 some employers and employees were not keen on working from home, now we have what could be a permanent change in attitude.

    1. graham says:

      Or sadly just a whole bunch more unemployed people.

    2. Ben says:

      This was exactly my attitude. I thought I’d miss my colleagues and wouldn’t be able to focus properly when at home etc. But now 2 months in I’m used to it and would jump at the chance of this being permanent.

  2. Errmm dont know says:

    Wait vm had high street stores? Lol

    1. Mark Scott says:

      There was one in Swindon and one in Bristol. Was quite surprised there wasn’t one in Bath, Frome or West Wiltshire.

    2. Tony Edwards says:

      They did in Ipswich,rude staff,could not care less said people complaining on line were just never satisfied wingers. I have given up trying to contact them after a one third increase in new contract price and am moving away from a monopoly that does not even have an email contact.

  3. Craig says:

    How much longer will those Sky kiosks stay?

  4. Paul Smeaton says:

    Made redundant from them on new years day 2 years ago so they could move our jobs to the Philippines and don’t miss it one bit. We actually had a Mexican wave in the call centre the day it was closing which said it all. Awful company to work for.

  5. Andy Ruddock says:

    Their stores were never helpful anyway, any questions were always met with the same “You’ll have to ring customer support” response.

    1. Edward Roy says:

      Stores a total waste of time. Staff no help what so ever ok to anyone buying.

    2. St Helens says:

      Virgin Media store in St. Helens are complete utter muppets that struggle to work an iPad and so are the Project Lightning team who failed spectacularly in trying to upgrade this town. VM employ the most inept and truly appalling incompetent planners in the entire telecoms industry. It is ‘award winning’ incompetence we are talking about here. Surveying a housing estate of 400+ new finished occupied houses and Virgin coming up with only 11 houses in that area. A blind mans dog could have done a better survey than VM planners.

      Virgin Media “Cable My Street” is a pointless, useless, waste of time web page.

      Virgin Media planners are utterly incompetent and so are the diabolical customer services at answering the most basic questions about Project Lightning. Ignored my emails on the work. Ignored all my postings in their forums. Ignored emails to directors. Ignored emails to the contractors (NMGroup) doing the wonky zigzag blind man roadworks closing off an entire district to foul up the road with bizarre zigzag illogical road gougings.

      Emailed their NOC who replied with “im sure they’ll get round to you” NOPE fail, they omitted so many streets which needed it. (credit to the NOC for actually responding)

      I am stunned this company can make any money employing the dimwits it already has.

      I work in Mobile Network build so I deem myself reasonably knowledgeable about fibres and deem myself qualified to “out” complete plonkers when I see them. NMGroup wrecked loads of pavements and front gardens and were forced by angry residents to make these good again.

      Not only did they install fibre nodes but a month later it was all ripped out and reinstalled again. Incompetence is the key word that sums up this company so perfectly.

    3. CarlT says:

      I am lost St Helens.

      If it was a newly built estate they couldn’t install there without wayleave. They may indeed get to you once the roads have been adopted by the local authority.

      Whose pavements and gardens did they trash then presumably retrash by installing, removing and again installing cabinets?

      Is this a case where people weren’t aware of service strips and that they didn’t actually own them? Records being inaccurate?

      This hasn’t happened elsewhere so I’m not sure what makes your area so special that they would ignore all those properties if it were that simple, or dig up all that private land without permission unless there were records issues.

  6. Declan M says:

    Will this be the start of a phased out virgin media brand?

    1. David Dreebin says:

      Maybe 🙂

  7. David Dreebin says:

    Well, I’m glad that I’m not with Virgin Media either for my landline or mobile phone then! Am with a proper Telecoms company, BT 🙂

  8. Sam Smith says:

    You guys are really harsh. These are PEOPLE who have lost their jobs. Actual people. I know it may seem strange from your ivory tower but maybe if you climbed down you may have a better view.

  9. Renato says:

    Have exchanged 50+ messages with TECH PEOPLE and…. still no solution.
    They obviously no longer want TOP UP customers.
    THIS SIM CHANGE OVER IS A TOTAL SHAMBLE…. does not reflect good for the UK Media.

    1. Sue Hilton says:

      I’m having the same problem. I’ve been a Virgin customer for 10 years but this SIM shambles has made me decide to take my business elsewhere.

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