Virgin Holidays shop expansion to create 200 travel agent jobs

Virgin Holidays is to double the size of its retail estate, adding up to 40 high street shops in the next 12 to 18 months and creating 200 jobs.

The new outlets, all of which will be concessions within House of Fraser, Debenhams and Tesco stores, like the existing 40, will mainly be located in the Midlands, north and Scotland.

A Virgin Holidays shop in Portsmouth will be the first to open this month. This will be followed by stores in Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow in December, and Sheffield city centre, Nottingham, the Metrocentre in Gateshead, Meadow Hall in Sheffield and Exeter in February.

The expansion in the north coincides with the opening of a V-Room lounge at Manchester airport next June, and with plans to expand into the US next year.

Managing director Amanda Wills said: “In the south, the Virgin Holidays brand is very well known; the further north you go, it’s less so.

“We’ve recently opened a shop in Liverpool and a couple in Manchester, so we are trying to change that.

“I always said there would be a halo effect. Our shops allow consumers to start interacting with our brand and our people, right from the beginning when they are still in the UK.

“We have a very different customer service offering at Virgin Holidays – even in our retail shops.”

Wills added: “Agents are outside handing out leaflets, inviting people into the stores, living and breathing the brand – just like our reps overseas.”

Virgin Holidays is looking for four to five agents for every shop, meaning up to 200 jobs will be created.

“The concessions have replaced the deal we had with Harvey World Travel that was designed to give us a high street presence. We will have 80 by 2012 and will eventually have 100 tops.”

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