Orange continues to reduce its number of stores in France. Latest victim: that of the Champs-Élysées, inaugurated in 2015 and which lowered the curtain a few days ago. Le Monde notes that the operator has accelerated store closures in 2021 with no less than 38 closures in 2021. This represents around 10% less of the park, and there are currently 323 “distribution agencies” in France.
It must be said that customer interest in the shops is declining. If half of Orange’s commercial acts took place in stores in 2019, only 38% were carried out physically in 2021. One in three customers no longer goes to the store, and the company had long been expecting a drop of attendance. The health crisis and the multiple confinements have accelerated the maneuver.
” We anticipated a downward trend in visits to our stores. But the Covid has upset these forecasts by saving us five years in our traffic projections. “, explains Frédéric Le Mounier, director of stores and customer services for Orange France.
If the operator closes some stalls in the big cities, it invests in the countryside with the opening of “Small shops”. These stores with a limited lifespan are located in rural areas, where the deployment of fiber is progressing rapidly. These are smaller with restricted time slots, but allow residents to be supported in their new uses. In addition to this, Orange has launched fiber truckswhich criss-cross the roads and inform about the arrival of fiber in extra-urban areas.
Wherever you are, our teams support you in new uses, to give you the keys to a responsible digital world 😉
— Orange (@orange) December 17, 2021
If the operator denies abandoning city centers to favor shopping centers on the outskirts, this acceleration of closures raises questions. ” What role does Orange want to keep in the territories, when its strength lay in this proximity? asks Vincent Gimeno, elected CFDT. According to Orange, 87% of the French population lives less than thirty minutes from one of its stores.
Among the competition, the trend is not to close. Free, for example, plans to have 200 stores open by next year. If we are far from the 323 Orange stores, the deployment remains impressive when we know that the operator opened its hundredth store in November 2020. Bouygues has bet on another strategy by buying several MVNOs, which has enabled it expand its distribution network with local Crédit Mutuel branches and CIC bank branches.