09 OCT 2019: Hays Travel, which claims it is the UK’s largest independent travel agent, has acquired all 555 Thomas Cook stores and said it will re-employ a “significant number” of former employees.  

“Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people,” said John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel. “We look forward to working with many of them.”

The Guardian reported that up to 2,500 jobs could be saved following the sale after the collapse of the holiday firm last month.

Hays Travel said it has already hired 421 former Thomas Cook employees. The company will will almost quadruple in size following the completed deal.

“This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement,” said Jim Tucker, a partner at KPMG and joint special manager of Thomas Cook’s retail division.

“It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street.”

Hays Travel said it is proposing to re-open the Thomas Cook stores with “immediate effect where possible and to take on up to 2,500 people”. Over 100 new jobs will be based at the company’s Sunderland headquarters with the rest in shops across the UK.

Hays said it has offered to help all Thomas Cook apprentices to complete their training at the Ofsted-accredited Hays Travel Academy.

“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,” said Irene Hays. “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.”

John Hays opened the first branch of the travel agency at the back of his mother’s children’s wear shop in 1980. Sales in the first year amounted to £812 ($1,320). Since then the business has grown to more than 190 travel shops across the UK, employing about 1,900 staff with a turnover of more than £1($1.6)bn last year. To mark the £1bn milestone the company shared a £1m pot with its employees, who each received £100 ($160)for every year they had worked at the company.

Hays Travel has already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook personnel and has made further job offers to former employees.

David Chapman, official receiver, said: "I am pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Hays Travel to acquire Thomas Cook's entire UK retail estate, comprising 555 stores across the country. This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company's assets."

Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG and joint special manager of Thomas Cook's Retail division, said: "This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement. It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street. We are pleased to have achieved this in a short time frame and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties.

"Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate."

John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel Limited, said: "Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people. We look forward to working with many of them."

 

 

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