Hays Travel Purchases Empty Thomas Cook Shops

Daniel Fowler
October 10, 2019

Last month, Thomas Cook Germany filed for insolvency in a move aimed at separating its brands and operations from its failed parent and the German government said it was considering an application for a bridging loan from the company.

Independent travel agent Hays Travel has said it will buy 555 stores from Thomas Cook after the holiday company collapsed late last month.

Hays Travel has announced it will take over 555 former Thomas Cook sites, including all Suffolk branches.

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

"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", said founder John Hays.

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

All passengers who were stuck overseas have been returned to the UK.

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"This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company's assets", said David Chapman, the official receiver of Thomas Cook.

Jim Tucker, partner at administrator KPMG, also added that the Hays deal "provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the United Kingdom high street".

"Throughout the industry, the talent, commitment and skills of our members working for Thomas Cook was well-known and I have no doubt they will bring the same dedication to Hays", he said.

United Kingdom airline Easyjet has hinted that it could be interested in some of Thomas Cook's air operations, as the low-priced carrier already serves some of its destinations.

The company now intends to reopen some shops as early as Thursday, potentially saving up to 2,500 jobs in total.

The news left around 150,000 passengers stranded overseas, the last of whom were returned to the United Kingdom on Monday.

The debt-plagued travel titan struggled against fierce online competition for years and blamed Brexit uncertainty for a drop in bookings.

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