Jobs saved as Hays Travel buys 555 Thomas Cook stores

All 555 Thomas Cook stores are being bought by rival Hays Travel

All 555 Thomas Cook stores are being bought by rival Hays Travel

When Thomas Cook collapsed, it put 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

Thomas Cook, the 178-year-old travel company, went bust just over two weeks ago, jeopardising 9,000 jobs in the United Kingdom and leaving 150,000 passengers stranded overseas.

Hundreds of Thomas Cook stores and staff have been thrown a lifeline after Hays Travel struck a deal to buy the failed company's entire store portfolio.

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

The travel company, which will nearly quadruple in size following the deal, said it has already hired 421 former Thomas Cook employees following the appointment of the official receiver last month.

"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.

He confirmed the Thomas Cook brand would be wiped from the high street as its shops are rebranded with the Hays name.

Meanwhile, the company will consider the future of under-performing shops in places where Hays and Thomas Cook sites overlap.

Thomas Cook had around 600 stores on United Kingdom high streets.

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

Hays was founded in County Durham 40 years ago and reached £1 billion in sales last year.

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.

"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".

"We will now move swiftly to gather more details about the deal and are seeking an urgent meeting with Hays about the part our union can play in supporting what will be a significant expansion for them across our high streets".

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