Bolsover Cruise Club is to close its standalone retail store in Sheffield as the specialist  expands its call centre and online focus into 2021.

The cruise holiday shop opened at the city’s Meadowhall shopping centre in 2014 but will not reopen after being shut since Covid-19 lockdown in March. The company pledged to avoid staff redundancies.

Bolsover managing director Michael Wilson said: “The decision not to reopen The Cruise Holiday Shop isn’t one we have taken lightly but there are several factors behind it.

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards ecommerce exponentially and with times changing so quickly, it is so important that we change with them.

“Our new website has been in development since early March and will launch later this month, with online booking coming soon after.

“This, along with a planned extension of our opening hours at the call centre as we bring the sales team back in-house, will allow us to support our customers better than ever in what remain such uncertain times for them.”

He added: “Another deciding factor was the health and safety of our staff. They are the ones who make us who we are and they’re the ones guiding our customers through this new normal.

“I have to put them first and the size of store at Meadowhall would have made it very difficult to maintain adequate social distancing.

“Instead, we’ll be encouraging clients to visit the Cruise Bureau at our Barlborough head office once we reopen. It’s a huge space with a fantastic team on hand to talk all things holidays.”

Bolsover Cruise Club temporarily shifted all operations to a homeworking model following March’s shutdown and will continue to offer service via telephone and online chat ahead of a phased return to the office.

On the future of the business, Wilson said: “While these are really challenging times for the industry, I’m confident that we’ll come through the other side stronger and more efficient than ever.

“There are no plans for redundancies within the business and we’re already looking at areas for growth as we look ahead. We’re in a solid position to weather the storm.”