Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Boston branch of Thomas Cook (and all 554 others) to re-open

Hays Travel reassures that its'flexible model will save Thomas Cook following its collapse in September. Image Chris Ratcliffe Bloomberg Hays Travel reassures that its'flexible model will save Thomas Cook following its collapse in September. Image Chris Ratcliffe Bloomberg
Ginger Lawrence | 12 October, 2019, 14:00

The acquisition of Thomas Cook's entire United Kingdom store estate by family-run Hays Travel is a fairytale ending to a nightmare month for staff of one of Britain's best-loved brands.

Scottish travel agent Barrhead Travel has announced plans to open up to 100 new United Kingdom stores and rehire "a significant number" of former Thomas Cook staff.

Husband and wife team Irene and John Hays, who own the travel agent, said the company burned the midnight oil, signing the deal to buy the shops at 11.53pm on Tuesday.

John Hays said: "Our staff were devastated to hear about Thomas Cook and we all immediately felt we wanted to help".

"These people didn't do anything wrong, one day the company went into liquidation and their jobs had gone", said John Hays, the managing director of Hays Travel.

The news comes following the collapse of rival Thomas Cook.

The deal involves purchasing assets from the official receiver appointed after Thomas Cook collapsed last month.

Brexit deal hopes hang on British breakfast with Barnier
The main stumbling block remains how the U.K.'s only land border, between Britain and Ireland, is dealt with. Their talks "concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent", their joint statement said.

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

Irene Hays, chair of the Hays Travel Group, said that Hays will "build on the good things Thomas Cook had, not least its people", adding: "We all share a passion for the travel industry and we want to continue to build the company's reputation for first-class service and being a great place to work and develop a career".

We have already recruited over 400 talented former Thomas Cook employees and we are ready to welcome many more of the retail branch staff.

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".

The 40-year-old Sunderland-based company reached sales of more than UKP1 billion in 2018 and celebrated by sharing UKP1m with its 1900 employees, who each received UKP100 for every year they'd worked there.

The company also offered jobs to over 600 former Thomas Cook employees and offered to help all of the Thomas Cook apprentices to complete their training at the Ofsted accredited Hays Travel Academy.