Hays Travel has reached a deal to purchase all Thomas Cook stores in a move that could save thousands of jobs.
The agreement will see Hays Travel acquire all 555 stores around the UK, providing re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees who were made redundant last month.
Hays Travel have already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook personnel and have further offers outstanding to former employees. Up to 2,500 jobs could be saved.
Thomas Cook operated shops in Dundee, Broughty Ferry, St Andrews, Arbroath, Perth, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
David Chapman, the government’s Official Receiver, said: “I am pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Hays Travel to acquire Thomas Cook’s entire UK retail estate, comprising 555 stores across the country.
“This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets.”
Hays Travel is the country’s largest independent travel agent.
The company runs the Hays Travel Independence Group, a consortium of independent travel agents, in addition to operating a subsidiary business, Just Go Travel.
John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel Limited, said: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people. We look forward to working with many of them.”
Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG and joint special manager of Thomas Cook’s retail division, who assisted the sale, said: “This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement.
“It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street.
“We are pleased to have achieved this in a short time frame and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties.
“Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate.”