Hays Travel has completed a deal that will see the tour operator take over all 555 of Thomas Cook’s stores.
The deal means that Hays will double its workforce and treble the number of stores it operates. The firm was founded 40 years ago by John and Irene Hays, who confirmed that up to 2,500 Thomas Cook jobs would be saved, with stores set to reopen within days.
However, some job losses and store closures would be “inevitable”, said the independently owned firm.
While the value of the deal has yet to be disclosed, the Official Receiver operating on behalf of Thomas Cook – which folded last month – said the transaction represented an “an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets”.
John Hays, Co-Owner and Managing Director of Hays Travel, said: “It is a game-changer for us, almost 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.”
Chair and co-owner Irene Hays added: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry.
“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”
Welcoming the move, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said she hoped the deal “will provide significant re-employment opportunities for former Thomas Cook employees, alongside the advice and support we will continue to provide to help people find a new job as quickly as possible.”