The Midcounties Co-op Travel has purchased eight branches in the South West of England to bring its total estate to 50 branches.

The acquisition of the Travel Angels sites in Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset will build on its links with Bristol Airport and is part of a strategic expansion programme to identify key independent businesses.

The branches at Frome, Shaftesbury, Melksham, Street, Warminster, Swindon, Gillingham and Chard will continue to trade under their existing name. The jobs of all 35 people based there have been secured.

Managing director Peter Grayson and director David Logan founded the business in 1993 and following the sale, for an undisclosed sum, Peter is to remain as a consultant to integrate the business into Midcounties.

Alistair Rowland, group general manager Travel Services at Midcounties, said: “We are delighted to acquire these branches for our growing network and to establish a presence in the South West. Our aim is to become one of the leading independent retailers in the country and this move fits with that strategy.

“Travel Angels chose to sell to us because, like them, we are customer focussed and have similar values and ethics. We are a community retailer, which is also one of their strengths, and we look forward to developing our business in this key region.”

Peter said: “All privately-owned businesses have to address succession issues. In Midcounties we have found the right successor to ensure its continuity and long term future and also to maintain our ethos. We are a traditional high street travel agent whose success has been built on establishing relationships between staff and customers and understanding their travel needs. We have proved that the retail model is alive and well and the new owner can help to develop the business further.”

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