Yesterday, TUI Group announced that it will close 166 high street stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The decision, according to the statement, was made on account of changes in customer behavior following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
According to TUI, the company intends to try and reposition about 70 percent of the travel workers affected by the closings into homeworking or service roles. Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK and Ireland, offered this:
“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.”
TUI also said other impacted employees may be moved to its remaining 350 high street stores in those geographies. Mr. Flintham went on to suggest that the move is a cost reduction move that is imperative, and that customer behaviors had already been changing before COVID-19. According to the TUI executive, 70 percent of TUI business had gone online over the last few years.
COVID-19 has accelerated the change in purchasing habits, according to Flintham. Brick and mortar offices were once the bulwark of all travel agencies, but the digital age has pushed traditional businesses into a new era.
TUI has not yet confirmed which store locations have been slated to be closed.