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Virgin Holidays to double chain of outlets to 100 by January

Virgin Holidays has accelerated its shop expansion programme with plans to double its chain to 100 outlets by January, creating 160 jobs.

Managing director Amanda Wills said the operator would be looking to recruit up to four staff for every shop.

She said the company would be looking for knowledgeable, outgoing agents who were prepared to stand outside the shops and entice customers in, not the type who sit behind desks and passively take bookings.

In November last year, Virgin Holidays had 40 concessions within Debenhams, House of Fraser and Tesco stores, largely located in the south of the country.

At the time, Wills said the company would open another 40 over the next 18 months. But the plan has now been stepped up following the chain’s ‘great performance’.

Wills told Travel Weekly: “We have 50 now, we will have 80 by September and 100 by January 2012.”

She said the focus was in the Midlands and the north, particularly Manchester, supporting significant investment in Manchester airport.

Virgin Atlantic launches a Manchester-Las Vegas service on Sunday, while Virgin Holidays will open a V-Room at Manchester airport in July.

The carrier is also increasing the frequency of its Manchester-Barbados service to twice a week from the autumn and is bringing in a new Airbus A330 on the Manchester-Orlando route, adding more capacity and introducing an “amazing” reconfigured economy seat.

The company’s investment in Manchester comes amid growing competition at the airport, with Middle Eastern carriers Emirates and Etihad both announcing increased programmes in recent weeks.

Etihad is creating 160 jobs in the city after locating a new call centre there.

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