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All Thomas Cook stores to be bought by Hays Travel

Independent travel agents says it plans to reopen the shops with immediate effect, saving around 2,500 jobs

Sarah Bosley


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All Thomas Cook stores bought by Hays Travel

The Thomas Cook store in Newbury's Northbrook Street has been closed since the travel firm went into compulsory liquidation on September 23

Jobs at Newbury's Thomas Cook store could be saved after it was announced today (Wednesday) that Hays Travel has agreed to buy all of the 555 high street shops.

Thousands of workers could be re-employed by the independent travel agent, which has already taken on more than 25% of the former Thomas Cook retail staff.

Owners, John and Irene Hays, said they are proposing to reopen all of the 555 shops with immediate effect.

In a statement Hays Travel said it planned to take on up to 2,500 staff, with more than 100 of those jobs being created at its head office in Sunderland.

Irene Hays, Chair of the Hays Travel Group, said: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry. We will build on the good things Thomas Cook had – not least its people – and that will put us in even better stead for the future.

“We all share a passion for the travel industry and we want to continue to build the company’s reputation for first class service and being a great place to work and develop a career.”

Managing director, John Hays, said: “Our staff were devastated to hear about Thomas Cook and we all immediately felt we wanted to help. 

“In the last two weeks we have already employed or offered jobs to around 600 former Thomas Cook colleagues, and it has been a very emotional experience for them.

“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.

“I’m very proud of the fantastic team who have helped me build Hays Travel over almost 40 years and they have worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to bring this about.

“It is a game-changer for us, almost 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.”

Thomas Cook was placed into compulsory liquidation on September 23, leaving thousands of holiday-makers stranded abroad or without their planned holidays. Since then, Hays Travel, which is privately owned by John and Irene Hays, has helped the Civil Aviation Authority support these customers.

It has also offered to help all Thomas Cook apprentices to complete their training at the Ofsted-accrediate Hays Travel Academy.

If you have booked a holiday through Thomas Cook, more details on what you need to do next can be found on the company’s website.

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