American Express to close owned stores

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By the end of the year, American Express will close its 20 owned offices that sell leisure travel; agents in those offices will work from home.

American Express spokeswoman Tracy Paurowski said that many of the agents have long-time relationships with clients and do a lot of repeat and referral business, for which a storefront location is not important.

Customers will be able to visit agencies in the American Express Travel Representative Network, American Express’s franchise group.

A handful of agents employed by the owned offices already work from home, and so do about 25% of agents who work in American Express call centers, Paurowski said.

American Express has been growing its home-based program in the past several years.

Proprietary offices have seen high sales volume for the past year, and second-quarter sales were record-breaking with a growth rate in the high single digits, Paurowski said.

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