Published on Friday, February 17, 2017
Thomas Cook is in discussions with staff in 39 stores it has earmarked for closure as part of a move to 'better adapt it to the changing needs of customers'.
The company wants to reduce its number of outlets from 757 to 719 over the coming months, with the 39 closures and a new Discovery store opening in Glasgow..
Fifty seven Co-operative Travel Shops are being rebranded to Thomas Cook by 2018 and new Discovery Stores will be opened. Thomas Cook plans to have a total of 25 Discover Stores by the end of 2019.
A Thomas Cook spokesman would not say which shops in its UK network would close, but said they all had leases that were coming to an end and that would not be renewed.
The company has begun a consultation process with employees, although it says it hopes many will be redeployed elsewhere in its network.
In a statement, the company said: "Thomas Cook will continue to consolidate its retail network by closing 39 stores in areas already well served by other Thomas Cook shops to ensure it is focused in locations where customers want to visit. When complete, Thomas Cook will have 719 stores nationwide.
"As part of the network improvements, Thomas Cook is building on the success of the new Discovery store concept with the launch of a brand new store this spring in Silverburn, Glasgow.
"With three openings last year - in Westfield Stratford City, Chelmsford and Belfast - Discovery stores are focused on higher footfall areas such as shopping centres and have already proven very popular with customers thanks to the fresh new design, dedicated kids areas and interactive video content.
"As well as brand new stores, Thomas Cook plans a rolling programme of refurbishments of existing stores in high footfall areas to the new format with the aim of having 25 Discovery stores by the end of 2019."
It added: "Thomas Cook continually reviews its store locations to ensure it is optimising the effectiveness of its retail network. As a result, it has identified 39 stores for closure, either because they are in areas where there are too many stores in close proximity or because a decline in footfall has impacted profitability.
"Discussions have begun with those employees affected with the hope that the majority can be redeployed across the business to retain their expertise."
Thomas Cook UK director of retail and customer experience Kathryn Darbandi said: "We're continually reviewing our network of stores across the UK to ensure that they're doing the best job they can.
"While we've seen strong growth in our online sales, we also know that more than two thirds of customers who research online come into store, valuing that face-to-face contact with our travel experts. The changes we're making ensure that we've not only got the right stores where customers most need them but also that we're creating an experience that they will recommend to their family and friends."
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.