// Tui will permanently shut 166 stores across UK & Ireland
// The travel firm has witnessed a large shift to online
// The amount of those wishing to travel has also decreased due to the coronavirus crisis
Multinational travel and tourism company Tui has announced that 166 stores will shut across the UK and Ireland as shoppers shift online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tui said the closures will also take place due to the downturn in travel as a result of the ongoing crisis, which has left many people choosing to stay home for the summer.
At least 350 shops will remain operating following the store closures, which has currently put around 900 jobs at risk.
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The company said that it would seek to move 70 per cent of the 900 staff affected to homeworking sales and services roles.
Meanwhile, other employees will be encouraged to relocate to the remaining high street stores.
The outlets set to close have been selected due to a number of reasons – including local market data, consumer trends and predictions on the future of travel, Tui said.
Moreover, at least 8000 jobs are set to be scrapped worldwide, in what is described as “the greatest crisis” the travel industry has witnessed.
“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 managing director Andrew Flintham said.
“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,” he said.
“Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70 per cent 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 advisers at Tui, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value.”
Tui UK and Ireland currently has over 10,000 staff.