A buyer has been found for the British Thomas Cook-stores

Hays Travel reassures that its'flexible model will save Thomas Cook following its collapse in September. Image Chris Ratcliffe Bloomberg

The move could provide re-employment for up to 2,500 staff who were made redundant following the collapse of Thomas Cook in September, leading to the UK's biggest peacetime repatriation exercise to bring home holidaymakers.

As we were heading for drinks at the farewell party of this year's ABTA Travel Convention, I caught up with the organisation's chief executive Mark Tanzer and asked him about Hays Travel buying Thomas Cook shops.

Public and private partners worked together to host the event at Manchester Airport, where former Thomas Cook staff were provided with advice and information.

However, Hays has said that they would have to "consider the future of under-performing shops" in towns where branches would overlap.

The independent travel firm was formed 40 years ago by husband and wife team Irene and John Hays. Hays signed a deal with the Official Receiver and liquidators at KPMG yesterday.

The news comes following the collapse of rival Thomas Cook.

This may affect the Halifax and Brighouse shops, as they already have shops in the towns.


"We are looking forward to welcoming many more people who share our passion for the travel industry, into our family business".

David Chapman, director of the Official Receiver, remarked that the sale "represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company's assets".

This news means that we can begin to re-open Thomas Cook stores, in their new Hays livery, from today.

It seems that ABTA's prayers have been answered as the organisation wished for the skilled staff of Thomas Cook to be able to get back on their feet as soon as possible.

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".

"I'm very proud of the fantastic team who have helped me build Hays Travel over nearly 40 years, and they have worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to bring this about".

Nick Wyatt, GlobalData's head of travel and tourism at R&A, also welcomed the news, but argued that the deal is not without its risks. "Hays will also need to make sure it invests in digital trends as competitive online threats to a large store network are legion".

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