Jobs saved as Hays Travel buys 555 Thomas Cook stores

Andrew Cummings
October 10, 2019

David Chapman, official receiver, said: "I am pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Hays Travel to acquire Thomas Cook's entire United Kingdom retail estate, comprising 555 stores across the country".

Hays Travel has already employed 597 members of Thomas Cook staff since the travel group went out of business last month.

Melton Borough Council's deputy leader and portfolio holder for growth and prosperity, Councillor Leigh Higgins, welcomed this morning's news.

The company now intends to reopen them immediately, potentially saving up to 2,500 further jobs.

"The location where Thomas Cook is based is an important one for our high street and I would very much welcome the store being re-opened and back in use".

"I welcome the news that Hays Travel will be purchasing Thomas Cook's real estate, and hope this will provide significant re-employment opportunities for former Thomas Cook employees, alongside the advice and support we will continue to provide to help people find a new job as quickly as possible", she said.

Irene Hays, chair of Sunderland-based Hays, said: "Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the United Kingdom and the global travel industry".

The ad continued: "This opening is for current Thomas Cook Cabin Crew or Thomas Cook employees with previous flying experience only".

He and his wife Irene own the business which has 1,900 staff and a year ago had sales of £379m, reporting profits of £10m.

He added: "We are pleased to have achieved this in a short timeframe and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties".

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".

It is not yet known if Thomas Cook stores in Plymouth, other parts of Devon and Cornwall will form part of the deal.

Employers including Next, Tui and the NHS were all at the event - former Thomas Cook staff could also receive information on their next steps after the business folded, and find out about benefits they may be entitled to.

The deal will boost the high street presence of Hays, the UK's largest independent travel group.

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