The sale of Thomas Cook’s store network offers opportunities to ‘significant’ numbers of former staff, the Official Receiver says.
Hays Travel has agreed a deal to buy all 555 Thomas Cook stores in the UK, saying its expansion could lead to 2,500 jobs being saved.
Hays Travel, the country’s largest independent travel agent, told Sky News it had already taken on 494 ex-Thomas Cook employees and job offers were pending for many more.
About 9,000 staff in the UK lost out when the company collapsed last month, prompting the country’s biggest peacetime repatriation exercise to recover more than 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.
The Company (Hays Travel) said, more than 100 of the new jobs would be based at its Sunderland headquarters, with the rest in shops across the UK.
Thomas Cook’s demise also reignited fears for the wider travel market as airlines engage in a price war at a time of dented demand and higher fuel costs.
Hays also runs the Hays Travel Independence Group, a consortium of independent travel agents.
Breaking: Surprise deal to rescue Thomas Cook's retail estate as Hays Travel acquires a total of 555 stores around the UK, providing re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former employees of Thomas Cook’s retail operations who were made redundant— Dominic Walsh (@walshdominic) October 9, 2019
Moreover, the company’s brands include Just Go Travel, which trades under the Hays Travel name predominantly across the North West of England.
Irene Hays, group chair of Hays Travel Limited, said that, 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,” Irene added.
Jim Tucker, Partner at services firm KPMG and joint special manager of Thomas Cook’s Retail division, said of the deal, Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate.
BREAKING: Hays Travel has said it will purchase 555 Thomas Cook stores following its collapse last month; potentially saving up to 2,500 jobs. pic.twitter.com/Zgu4uVbQDg— Birmingham Updates (@BhamUpdates) October 9, 2019
On the other hand, The Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom also welcomed the deal and said that, Thomas Cook’s collapse has been a hugely distressing time for thousands who have lost their jobs and those had their holidays so badly affected.
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, Leadsom added.