Hays Travel to take over 555 Thomas Cook shops

The Thomas Cook shop in Dewsbury. Credit Google Street View.
The Thomas Cook shop in Dewsbury. Credit Google Street View.

Rival travel agent Hays Travel looks "to employ as many Thomas Cook staff as possible".

The Sunderland based travel agent, Hays Travel, has pledged to take over the 555 Thomas Cook stores across the nation, saving up to 2,500 jobs.

Thomas Cook was placed in compulsory liquidation on September 23rd and their closed shops will be stripped and re-branded as Hays Travel stores, with some re-opening as early as today.

However, Hays has said that they would have to "consider the future of under-performing shops" in towns where branches would overlap. They will be taking over the Thomas Cook stores in Dewsbury, Cleckheaton and Mirfield.

Hays Travel was founded in 1980 by husband and wife Irene and John Hays. It is the largest independent travel agent in the UK, with 1,900 employees and 190 shops. Last year the company reached £1bn in sales.

"We are looking to employ as many Thomas Cook staff as possible and we are reaching out to them.

“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," said Mr Hays.

Hays Travel has also spoken to approximately 140 landlords, with a deal that will pay them until the end of December.

"This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement," said Jim Tucker, a KPMG partner who was appointed joint special manager of Thomas Cook's retail division after the failure.