Tui expands retail network with two shop openings

Tui opened two more shops in the UK this week as the agency pursues its strategy of expanding its retail network by “small numbers”.

The shop in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, reported welcoming “hundreds” of customers on the first day, while staff in the Lowestoft store, located inside a branch of Next, described a “buzz in the air”.

The openings come in the week that Tui Group chief executive Sebastian Ebel outlined the benefits of a bricks-and-mortar presence and confirmed plans to open more stores. Tui now has 327 branches across the UK, with 21 of them being in Next stores.

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The Bishop Auckland shop’s features include customer booths, a double bureau exchange counter, advice bar and coffee machine.

The store’s manager Emma Love said the atmosphere has been “incredible” this week.

She added: “In the first day of opening, we welcomed hundreds of customers in and booked dream destinations for many travellers.

“The feedback we have had about the store has been fantastic with many customers being delighted to have us on the high street, with many saying they feel like they are on holiday the moment they walk in.”

She said Marella Cruises sailings had been the most popular trips so far, with Spain and Greece close behind.

The new Lowestoft store, which will have seven full-time staff members, is part of Tui’s “whitespace strategy” to open outlets in selected Next branches. It has desks and booths for customer consultations, as well as a foreign exchange service.

Regional store manager Joanne Eccleston said: “We were so excited to see the first customers come through the doors when we officially opened and there has been such a buzz in the air since.

“People are genuinely delighted that Tui is back in Lowestoft as part of this new chapter with Next, and we can’t wait to welcome even more customers in the coming weeks.”

She added that “a lot of people” had been asking about Marella Cruises.

After Tui reported upbeat second-quarter figures this week, Ebel said: “We would like to broaden our retail outlet in the UK, not by 100 or 200, but small numbers.”

Picture: Tui’s new store in Bishop Auckland

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