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Published on Thursday, July 30, 2020

TUI to shut 166 shops as industry crisis deepens

TUI will close 166 high street agencies in a move that will impact 900 roles, the operator has announced.

The decision, which follows a review of booking behaviours, comes as the industry fights what TUI described as the "greatest crisis the travel industry has ever faced".

TUI said it will aim to move 70% of the 900 impacted roles into a newly-created homeworking sales and service division.

Other staff made jobless will fill vacancies across the remaining high street shops.

The closures, which leave 350 stores in its retail network, follow the announcement in May that TUI was looking to reduce overhead costs globally by 30%, with approximately 8,000 roles impacted.

While today's move has been accelerated by Covid, the company said the change in shopping habits was already well advanced, with seven out of 10 TUI UK bookings taking place online.   

Andrew Flintham, Managing Director TUI UK and Ireland said: "We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it's in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do.

"It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.

"Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70% of all TUI UK bookings taking place online.

"We believe COVID-19 has only accelerated this change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home. We have world class travel advisors at TUI, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value."

By Steve Jones, Contributing Editor

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