Thomas Cook shops set to re-open in Lancashire after rival steps in to save jobs

Thomas Cook shops look set to reopen after Hay's Travel stepped in to buy up the premises
Thomas Cook shops look set to reopen after Hay's Travel stepped in to buy up the premises
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Lancashire's Thomas Cook shops are set to reopen after an independent travel agent stepped in to save thousands of UK jobs.

Hays Travel has already employed 421 members of Thomas Cook staff since the travel group went out of business last month and has now sealed a deal to buy all of the stricken travel group's 555 UK shops.

The company now intends to reopen them immediately, potentially saving up to 2,500 further jobs.

Jim Tucker, a KPMG partner who was appointed joint special manager of Thomas Cook's retail division after the failure, 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."

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

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

John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chairwoman of Hays Travel, said: "Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people. We look forward to working with many of them."

Mr Tucker said the administrators would work with Hays to "ensure a smooth transition of the store estate".

He added: "We are pleased to have achieved this in a short timeframe and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties."

In the county, Thomas Cook had shops in Poulton Street, Kirkham; Birley Street Blackpool; Marton Asda; Fishergate Preston; Victoria Road, Cleveleys; Clifton Street, Lytham; and at the Burlington Centre, St Annes.