Hays Travel to take over 555 Thomas Cook shops

Natasha Walker and Nicola Lotts have joined Premier Travel in Bishop's Stortford after losing their jobs at Thomas Cook

Natasha Walker and Nicola Lotts have joined Premier Travel in Bishop's Stortford after losing their jobs at Thomas Cook

Thousands of former Thomas Cook employees may be back in employment after Hays Travel agreed to buy 555 high street shops from the collapsed airline.

The Sunderland-based travel company has already taken on 421 members of Thomas Cook's 9,000 United Kingdom staff since it went out of business last month, and it is hoped the Channel Street outlet will now be in line to reopen.

Thomas Cook's collapse on September 23 under a mountain of debt led to 9 000 job losses in the United Kingdom and left 150 000 people stuck overseas, with the holiday plans of thousands more ruined.

John Hays, who set up the the company 40 years ago, said: "It is a game-changer for us, nearly trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce - and for the industry, which will get to keep some of its most talented people".

"These people didn't do anything wrong, one day the company went into liquidation and their jobs had gone", said John Hays, the managing director of Hays Travel.

Meanwhile, MPs will grill Thomas Cook's former bosses next week over its collapse last month.

As of now, the Thomas Cook shop located in the prestigious shopping area of James Street is closed.

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"We are re-opening all of 555 Thomas Cook shops as soon as possible and we are employing Thomas Cook people as fast as we can - 769 have been recruited and 180 made an offer up to last night".

"Now that we are able to re-open the shops, we are looking forward to welcoming many more people who share our passion for the travel industry into our family business. This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company's assets".

This news means that we can begin to re-open Thomas Cook stores, in their new Hays livery, from today.

Jim Tucker, partner at administrator KPMG, also added that the Hays deal "provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the United Kingdom high street".

That is to be taken over by Hays Travel, the messages to British media outlets.

The company hopes to take on as numerous 2,500 former Thomas Cook retail employees as possible in the coming weeks, doubling its workforce.

The 40-year-old Sunderland-based company reached sales of more than UKP1 billion in 2018 and celebrated by sharing UKP1m with its 1900 employees, who each received UKP100 for every year they'd worked there.

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