Travel giant TUI on Thursday announced that it will close 166 high street stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
According to a statement, the decision for the closures was made following changes in customer behaviour following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The travel company said that it would look to move 70 percent of the 900 impacted staff members to homeworking sales and services roles.
“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,” Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK and Ireland, said.
TUI will aim to relocate other impacted employees across its remaining 350 high street stores in those geographies.
“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,” Flintham added.
Moreover, Flintham said that customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70 percent 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,” he said.
The exact locations of the stores that are closing have yet to be confirmed.