In what may come as the least surprising headline you’ll read today, AT&T has announced they will close 250 stores and lay off thousands of workers. The move comes amid economic uncertainty, the direct effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. AT&T cites “changes in consumer behavior” as one of the main reasons for the cuts, which will affect employees in almost every department.
AT&T is faced with the task of eliminating almost $200 Billion in debt, and the easiest way to impact that number is with job cuts. The company has gone on record saying that they’ll be “eliminating more non-payroll workers, which are based outside of the US, than management or union-represented employees.” This sounds good in theory, but there are also thousands of wireline techs and US-based executives who’ll be staring down the barrel of unemployment as a result of these layoffs.
Additionally, AT&T will also be closing 250 retail locations. There will be a mix of AT&T-branded locations as well as some Cricket stores. The terminated employees will receive severance pay, as well as a continuation of health benefits for 6 months. T-Mobile has also announced a reduction in workforce, leaning on their merger with Sprint as the cause.
Either way, 250 stores closing is nothing to sneeze at, and will undoubtedly affect the customer experience in the long run. One has to wonder what the AT&T retail experience will look like at the end of the Coronavirus pandemic.