Dixons Carphone has confirmed that the decision to close the Irish Carphone Warehouse business is expected to lead to 486 redundancies.

Carphone Warehouse said its 69 standalone and 12 outlets within a store will all close.

The move will not affect Currys PC World Ireland, which is also owned by the Dixons Carphone group.

It said that over the last year Carphone Warehouse Ireland has seen a decrease in footfall in excess of 40% and a 25% increase in customers buying sim-free handsets.

It added that customers are also increasingly choosing to shop with the retailer's large and growing online business or through Currys PC World stores.

"Although these changes in behaviour were anticipated, they were expected to occur over a longer period of time," it said.

"However, the change in shopping behaviours has been accelerated by the pandemic."

Today's move follows the company's decision last year to close all its 531 Carphone Warehouse standalone stores in the UK. Almost 3,000 jobs were lost when the shops shut.

Carphone Warehouse said that in line with its policy it will go "well beyond its obligations in financial and other support for all affected colleagues".

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In a statement on its website, the company said the move was part of a broader transformation of its parent business Dixons Carphone.

"Customers are changing the way they buy mobile devices and connectivity, replacing their handsets less often and buying them separately or as part of more flexible bundles," it said.

The company said staff had worked hard to make Carphone Warehouse Ireland a success and had been the driving force behind its well-earned reputation for excellent customer service and support.

"This difficult decision is no reflection on their commitment, dedication, and professionalism," it said.

It added that it will continue to offer Irish customers services through Currys PC World stores and on Currys.ie.

"Footfall in our Carphone Warehouse stores is down significantly, and we don't expect many customers to sign new contracts with us during this time; our stores will therefore close immediately," it said.

"We'll continue to help our customers via our central customer support team and will also ask some colleagues to provide operational support over the coming days," it added.

Earlier this year Vodafone ended its involvement with Carphone Warehouse in Ireland and eir was reportedly in discussions about the future of its relationship with the retailer.

Dixons Carphone in January said it had experienced some "teething" issues supplying Ireland in the wake of Britain's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

Three years ago Carphone Warehouse shut down its iD Mobile brand here, after poor customer take-up.

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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said today's news will come as a major blow to Carphone Warehouse employees and their families after what has been an incredibly difficult year.

Mr Varadkar said the Government will make all necessary State assistance available to the Carphone Warehouse workers.

"The Minister for Social Protection is aware of the situation and we will work across Government, to help them find new employment, education and training opportunities as soon as possible," he added.

Mr Varadkar said that many high street retailers have been under pressure for some time now, as consumers move online - a shift that has been accelerated by the pandemic.

"Government is working in a coordinated way, through the Retail Forum, and has committed unprecedented levels of financial aid to support retail businesses through these exceptionally difficult times and will continue to do so," he added.

The trade union Mandate called on the Tánaiste to establish a task force to examine the future of retail in Ireland as Carphone Warehouse joins a growing list of retailers that are shuttering operations here.

"Today there are hundreds of Carphone Warehouse workers wondering how they’re going to pay their bills. Those workers join the long list of workers who have lost their jobs in the last year including Debenhams and Arcadia workers, and yet we have seen very little action in terms of legislation from government," Mandate General Secretary Gerry Light said.

Duncan Graham, Managing Director of Retail Excellence, said today's decision from Carphone Warehouse reflects the crisis in the retail landscape at present, due to a combination of both Covid-19 and Brexit.

Mr Graham said that hundreds of retailers around the country are similarly on the brink of closure due to their inability to trade over several months, and as such business and retail owners are making decisions now on their future viability.

"It is imperative that the Government now provides a clear and detailed road map to recovery for the retail industry which prioritises early and safe reopening," he added.

Labour enterprise and education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD called on the Government to engage with staff and unions affected by the announcement and to support the workers and seek to re-employ them within their community where possible.

The same sentiments were echoed by Sinn Féin's enterprise spokesperson, Louise O'Reilly.