Thomas Cook's 555 shops to be bought by rival

Hays Travel To Buy Thomas Cook's UK stores British Agency

Northern Ireland jobs 'could be saved' in Thomas Cook store purchase

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

Hundreds of Thomas Cook jobs could have been saved after an independent travel agent agreed to buy the failed firm's high street shops.

. They must have some lovely senior staff meetings over tea and biscuits in the conservatory.

Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel firm, collapsed earlier this week, sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history and a scramble for survival among many of its subsidiaries. Might as well, seeing as they'll have the keys and know the passwords etc.

Hays has already recruited more than 400 Thomas Cook staff, and has offered work to more affected personnel.

The travel firm on Wednesday said it was cancelling all travel operations until December 31, adding that it was working to resume travel in the beginning of 2020.

More than 100 new jobs will be based at the company's Sunderland headquarters with the rest in shops across the UK.

Thomas Cook had a store in Inglis Street.

The travel company, which will nearly quadruple in size following the deal, said it has already hired 421 former Thomas Cook employees following the appointment of the official receiver last month.

Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG, added: "This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement.

Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate".

He said: "This is very welcome news offering real hope of reemployment to former Thomas Cook retail staff, many of whom are our members".

"We will build on the good things Thomas Cook had - not least its people - and that will put us in even better stead for the future", said Irene Hays.

He and his wife Irene own the business which has 1,900 staff and a year ago had sales of £379m, reporting profits of £10m.

John Hays, who set up the the company 40 years ago, said: "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". "It is a game-changer for us".

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