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Hays Travel to buy 555 Thomas Cook stores

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Written by: Emma Lunn
09/10/2019
Up to 2,500 jobs at Thomas Cook could be saved after Hays Travel agreed to buy the bust holiday company’s high street shops.

Hays Travel will acquire the entire retail portfolio of 555 former Thomas Cook shops after it signed a deal with the Official Receiver and KPMG.

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

Thomas Cook was placed in compulsory liquidation on 23 September, upon which the Official Receiver was appointed by the court as liquidator. Special managers from KPMG were also appointed by the court to assist the Official Receiver with the liquidation.

The deal announced today involves re-opening retail premises that will complement Hays Travel’s own 190 shops across the UK.

Hays Travel is a private company, jointly owned and managed by John Hays, managing director, and Irene Hays, chair of the Hays Travel Group.

The company also runs the Hays Travel Independence Group, a consortium of independent travel agents, in addition to operating a subsidiary business, Just Go Travel, which trades under the Hays Travel brand predominantly across the North West of England.

John Hays said: “Our staff were devastated to hear about Thomas Cook and we all immediately felt we wanted to help. In the last two weeks we have already employed or offered jobs to around 600 former Thomas Cook colleagues, and it has been a very emotional experience for them. 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.”

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.”

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