Fears are now growing for the future of Southport’s TUI Store after the holiday chain announced it would be shutting hundreds of stores in the UK.

The Chapel Street Store is one of the sites which has remained closed during the lockdown period and was not on a restricted list of stores that would reopen following a return to high street shopping.

While stores in Preston and Liverpool have since reopened, the TUI Store on Chapel Street has remained closed to customers, with only a handful of staff working behind the scenes to answer customer complaints and queries since the COVID 19 pandemic.

While no list has been made publicly available, there are growing concerns the Southport store could be one of those to face permanent closure

Managing director Andrew Flintham said of the store closures: “We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do.

“It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.

“Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70% of all Tui UK bookings taking place online.

“We believe COVID-19 has only accelerated this change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home.

“We have world-class travel advisers at Tui, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value.”