UK Agent Hays Buys Thomas Cook Retail Outlets

October 9, 2019

Failed travel company Thomas Cook Group’s UK retail operations have been acquired by Hays Travel, potentially saving up to 2,500 jobs.

UK Agent Hays Buys Thomas Cook Retail Outlets

Hays Travel will acquire the entire retail portfolio of 555 former Thomas Cook shops after it signed a deal with the Official Receiver and Special Managers at KPMG.

Tyne and Wear-based Hays, which styles itself as the UK's largest independent travel agent, will add 100 new jobs at its Sunderland HQ, and employ up to 2,500 ex-Thomas Cook retail staff. Hays currently owns 190 travel stores across the UK.

Hays Travel said it has already employed over a quarter of the former Thomas Cook retail employees and plans to re-open the Thomas Cook stores as soon as possible.

Company founder John Hays said that “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.”

The 40-year-old Hays Travel had sales of over GBP£1bn (USD$1.22 billion) in 2018 and employs 1,900 people.

“Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry,” Hays Travel Group chairwoman Irene Hays said. “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.”

Thomas Cook Group was put into compulsory liquidation last month, stranding thousands of customers across the world. The British government tasked the UK Civil Aviation Authority with arranging the repatriation of stranded customers, an operation that was completed on Sunday.