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TUI to shut 48 more shops in UK as travel crisis deepens

·1-min read
People wear face coverings as they stand outside a Tui travel agents shop following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Chester, Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - Holiday company TUI said it would shut 48 retail stores across Britain, adding to the 166 it has already closed there during the pandemic.

The shop closures will mean additional cost savings for TUI, which is headquartered in Germany and has relied on state-bailouts to help it survive the travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The travel industry and the British high street are both facing unprecedented pressure. We can therefore confirm that we are proposing to close 48 retail stores," TUI said in a statement on Wednesday.

Rising COVID-19 cases in some European countries plus the slow roll-out of the vaccine on the continent, mean airlines and travel companies across Europe are bracing for a second lost summer.

That could mean a huge headache for TUI which at its last update in February said it already had 2.8 million bookings for this summer.

TUI said 273 staff would be impacted by the closures but new opportunities would be offered in its remaining 314 stores in the UK and Ireland, and in its new homeworking team which answer customer inquiries.

To get through COVID-19, TUI said last year it would cut 8,000 jobs and shed 30% of its costs.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle)