All 555 Thomas Cook shops are being bought out by rival independent Travel Agency, Hays Travel with the retail stores to reopen in a matter of days.

It comes after Thomas Cook, the UK’s oldest airline and holiday package provider collapsed last month leaving employees devastated and jobless.

Hays Travel has already employed more than 25% of the former Thomas Cook retail employees and is proposing to re-open the stores as soon as possible and to take on up to 2,500 people.

Hays Travel

John and Irene Hays

Over 100 new jobs will be based at the company’s Sunderland headquarters with the rest in shops across the UK.

Hays Travel has told UK media that taking over these Thomas Cook stores will give them retail stores in places where it had little or no presence such as Scotland and Wales.

John Hays, who set up the Sunderland-based Hays Travel business in England 40 years ago told the BBC that he hoped the shops would reopen within days.


He said many staff broke down in tears when they were told their jobs were saved.

John Hays has refused to give “cast-iron guarantees” about every single Thomas Cook shop, because there needed to be individual talks with the different landlords.

He said he understood some of the shops were lossmaking but believed they could make them profitable again.

“It is certainly our intention to take on all the staff; to welcome them back.”

Owner of Hays Travel John Hays

Karry On - Thomas Cook

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is a big move for Hays Travel who, before the purchase, had 190 shops and 1,900 staff.

John Hays described the purchase “a game-changer” that would almost treble the number of shops they have and doubling their workforce.

He said it was also a game-changer for the industry, which would now “get to keep some of its most talented people.”

You can read Hays Travel’s full statement about the purchase here.