HARTLEPOOL’S branch of the mobile phone store Phones 4u is closed after the business suddenly went into administration.
The store in the town’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was one of more than 500 Phones 4u branches nationally that did not open for business yesterday.
The collapse of the business followed a shock decision of Phones 4u’s last remaining mobile operator partner, EE, to cut ties with the retailer, putting 5,600 jobs at risk.
A notice in the window of the Hartlepool branch advises customers to call various customer service lines which remain open for things like phone insurance.
The note also apologised and said it would update customers as soon as possible.
It was signed off by “the heartbroken Phones4u team”.
Staff are waiting to hear from administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers on whether the private equity-owned business can be reopened for trading.
Phones 4u also has a branch at The Chare, in Peterlee.
All mobile contracts bought through Phones 4u will remain unaffected and the networks will continue to provide mobile services to customers.
Phones 4u chief executive David Kassler said: “If the mobile network operators decline to supply us, we do not have a business.
“A good company making profits of over £100 million, employing thousands of decent people has been forced into administration.
“The great service we have provided should have guaranteed a strong future, but unfortunately our network partners have decided otherwise.”