Published: October 9, 2019 | Updated: October 9, 2019

Thousands of jobs saved as Hays Travel agrees to buy all 555 Thomas Cook stores around UK

The Hays Travel store in Broadstone, one of 20 operated by the company in Dorset.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A company which acquired Dorset-based Bath Travel six years ago has agreed to buy all 555 Thomas Cook stores around the UK.

The move, by Sunderland-based Hays Travel, is expected to save thousands of jobs.

The company had already employed more than 400 members of Thomas Cook staff after the travel group went out of business last month.

It now intends to reopen the shops immediately under its own brand.

Hays Travel also said it will create another 100 jobs at its North East headquarters.

“It is a game-changer for us, almost trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce,” said Founder and Managing Director John Hays.

He added: “We are looking forward to welcoming many more people who share our passion for the travel industry into our family business.”

The 178-year-old Thomas Cook folded on September 23 after failing to secure a last-minute rescue deal.

The news left around 150,000 passengers stranded abroad. The last returned to the UK on Monday.

Hays was founded in Seaham, County Durham, 40 years ago and reached £1 billion in sales last year.

It has over 180 retail shops including 20 in Dorset.

The company was already the UK’s largest independent travel agent, employing more than 1700 people.