Travel Designers is to leave the high street after 12 years to expand the business and save at least £10,000 a year in rent and business rates.
The Clapham agency plans to grow its business by renting an office space when its lease expires in June 2014.
The decision comes as a new report, Retail Futures 2018, predicts the number of high street and out-of-town stores will drop by 22% to 220,000 by 2018, while the share of online retail sales is forecast to rise from 12.7% last year to 21.5%.
Managing director Nick Harding-McKay said relocating to offices where staff could still meet clients by appointment but avoid high street costs was a “no-brainer”.
He said: “We can cut our cost base quite considerably. We’re not doing this because we are losing money – we need more space. My business will be different in five years, everyone’s should be. Moving off the high street is not a bad thing for business – it’s exciting.”
The company hopes to increase its staff to five from its current three full-timers and one part-timer.
Money will be reinvested in marketing, social media and its outreach programme, which includes selling at travel shows. It will also mean the agency could reduce prices to beat rival online quotes, said Harding-McKay.
He said: “Operators pay the same whether you are on the high street or a homeworker. We can be more competitive and we will have the flexibility to offer ‘internet’ prices while still acting like a small independent on the high street.”
The agency’s footfall had fallen, partly as a result of high car parking charges, added Harding-McKay.
He said: “I looked at another shop and it was £25,000 a year in rent and £13,000 in rates. Customers want the service on the high street but do not want to pay for it.”
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