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More job losses at HWT as remaining shops close

Another 75 Harvey World Travel (HWT) staff are to be made redundant as administrators are forced to close its final 12 branches.


The shops, which should all close by the end of today, are the last of the network, which was originally made up of 57 retail outlets.


The closures are in Bourne, Attleborough, Aylsham, Beccles, Diss, Framlingham, Halesworth, Holt, March, North Walsham, Spalding and Whittlesey.


Director of administrator Tenon Recovery Chris Ratten said: “Despite initial interest in the East Anglian stores, no real offers have been received by the administrators, and so a decision was made to close down the remaining stores.


“This will unfortunately result in the remaining 75 employees being made redundant.”


The latest redundancies come after 80 HWT staff were made redundant last week, when 16 shops were closed after the administrators were called in.


Twenty-nine branches have been bought from the administrators. The 25 shops bought by Vacation World shops and the two by Miles Morgan are all operating as part of Hays Independence Group.


New bosses of some of the shops blamed HWT’s use of Virgin Holidays branding on the shops’ fronts, which was rolled out in 2006, for hastening their demise.


Global Travel Lounge managing director Peter Buckell, who has bought two HWT shops, said: “The Virgin branding was the biggest mistake; people thought they just sold Virgin Holidays and the shops totally lost their way.”


Simon Maunder, who is running 25 HWT shops bought by Vacation World, agreed the Virgin Holidays branding led to problems serving local customers’ needs.


He added: “They put Virgin branding on the shops in the southwest, where Virgin doesn’t fly from, and shop staff could only offer Virgin flights out of Gatwick and Manchester. That’s what killed it.”


 

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