Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Economy | By

Thousands of jobs could be saved as Thomas Cook stores bought

Thousands of jobs could be saved as Thomas Cook stores bought

The news that Hays Travel has bought all 555 of the shops Thomas Cook owns across Britain has been welcomed with a sigh of relief by many people, including Harrogate, not least by this famous brand's anxious staff.

Hays Travel has already employed more than 25% of the former Thomas Cook retail employees and is proposing to re-open the stores with immediate effect where possible and to take on up to 2,500 people.

As we were heading for drinks at the farewell party of this year's ABTA Travel Convention, I caught up with the organisation's chief executive Mark Tanzer and asked him about Hays Travel buying Thomas Cook shops.

"Not only do they gain some of the highly regarded former Thomas Cook staff, they will also earn a lot of goodwill from former loyal Thomas Cook customers", he explained.

He added: "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.

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

Official receiver David Chapman said the acquisition of the 555 branches - the entirety of Thomas Cook's United Kingdom retail estate - is an "important step in the liquidation process".

This may affect the Halifax and Brighouse shops, as they already have shops in the towns.

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

KPMG partner and joint special manager of Thomas Cook's retail division Jim Tucker said: "This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement".

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

In total, around 600,000 customers were left stranded following the collapse of the 178 year-old company less than three weeks ago, including around 140,000 who had been due to return to Germany.

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