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Hays Travel to Re-open 555 Thomas Cook Shops in the UK

Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, will acquire the entire retail portfolio of 555 former Thomas Cook shops in the United Kingdom after it signed a deal with the Official Receiver and Special Managers from KPMG.

According to an announcement on Wednesday by the UK’s Insolvency Service, the agreement will see Hays Travel provide re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former employees of Thomas Cook’s retail operations who were made redundant following the appointment of the Official Receiver as liquidator on September 23.

Thomas Cook was placed in compulsory liquidation on September 23, 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.

At the invitation of the Civil Aviation Authority, Hays Travel responded to support thousands of customers on holiday or with holidays booked.

“This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets,” David Chapman, Official Receiver, said, in regards to the deal.

Hays Travel steps in

Following the appointment of the Official Receiver last month, Hays Travel have already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook personnel and have further offers outstanding to former employees.

Hays Travel Managing Director John Hays and Hays Travel Group Chair Irene Hays. Photo source: Hays Travel

Hays Travel Managing Director John Hays and Hays Travel Group Chair Irene Hays. Photo source: Hays Travel

“Hays Travel has already employed more than 25 percent of the former Thomas Cook retail employees and is proposing to re-open the stores with immediate effect where possible and to take on up to 2,500 people,” the travel agent said in an announcement. Over 100 new jobs will be based at the company’s Sunderland headquarters with the rest in shops across the UK.

The deal announced 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.

“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,” John Hays said.

“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,” he added.

Hays Travel 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.

The 40-year-old Sunderland-based company reached sales of more than £1 billion in 2018 and employ’s some 1,900 employees. Hays Travel has been included in the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For for several years, and is currently the Investors in People UK’s Best Large Company for Apprenticeships.

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