Tui Group’s chief executive expects the company to retain a strong presence in UK high streets in the next five years – citing reduced rents as a positive factor.
In its full-year results announcement this morning the group emphasised its plans to “transform Tui into a digital and platform organisation”.
Asked by TTG what the impact of this might be on Tui’s retail network in the UK, Fritz Joussen said: “It will impact it. As you know the traditional way of doing business was independent retail.
“You’ll see a move from indirect to direct.
“On top of that, for the first time we have started to see mobile sales now taking place.
“Last year we had on average 1% sales on the mobile app. For a complex product that’s already something and we see a very strong growth in mobile app sales.
“The sale in the mobile app doesn’t cost us anything because on the internet you pay for paid search and advertising but you don’t on the app.
“We have a very strong interest in becoming more mobile-centric. We have development teams just focusing on that.”
However, Joussen added that Tui “believes in a multi-channel approach” and highlighted that many online players had now opened retail outlets as well.
“We believe in the co-existence of channels and that’s what we will be focusing on.
“I still expect a strong retail presence on UK high streets in five years time – in the Nordics no, because we just closed our last travel agency there.”
Joussen added: “We have seen that because of decreasing rents in the high street that retail channel is very competitive as well – renewing the retail footprint is easier than it was a couple of years ago. Flagship stores will be more digital.
“We have no plans to change the number of stores in the UK.”