Tui will close 34 shops over the next 12 months, but it will re-deploy all affected agents and invest in other premises which will open in new locations.

The travel giant currently has 562 shops across the UK and continually reassesses the locations based on local population changes and footfall, said chief marketing officer Katie McAlister.


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Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly at a retail managers’ conference in Crete last week she said: “We will still have a massive high street footprint and it’s not about closing stores, it’s about having them in the right place.

“We can look at the demographics and catchment areas and tweak the format of different types of stores.”

She said the centre of gravity of some town and city centres is changing, such as Bicester, where a big new housing development means the town centre is shifting.

A location planning tool enables Tui to analyse data to make informed choices about locations, she said.

Belinda Vazquez, retail director, said: “We are always analysing our presence and reshaping our estate but we will have openings and relocations.”

She said a new concession within a Next store is working well and further such outlets are in the pipeline as the fashion retailer’s customers match those of Tui.

The operator also has a long-standing similar partnership with Asda.

McAlister said the operator is investing in its retail estate, with digital billboards being introduced to provide “engaging content” such as videos in shop windows.

Vazquez said: “Rich content is great to attract customers – it is eye-catching and will help us to stand out in the high street.

“People are nervous about the high street but we will invest and refurbish and make them digital-centric.”

McAlister and Vazquez said the move by Hays Travel to take over the entire Thomas Cook retail estate of 555 meant that the overall number of agents on the high street remained steady.

They pointed out that Hays Travel, as well as other travel agency chains, sells Tui holidays and Tui staff will attend the forthcoming Hays conference.

“It’s good for them to understand the full range that we offer,” added Vazquez.

McAlister said: “We are feeling positive about our model and our customer proposition.

“We follow the customer, with capacity based on customer research and market data about where people go.”

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