An agreement has been reached with Hays Travel Limited to acquire Thomas Cook’s entire UK retail estate following its collapse in September.

The country’s largest independent travel agent, which also operates Just Go Travel, has bought all 555 stores, providing re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former employees of Thomas Cook’s retail operations.

John Hays, who set up the the company 40 years ago, 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”.

Following the appointment of the Official Receiver last month, Hays Travel have already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook personnel and have further offers outstanding to former employees.

David Chapman, Official Receiver, said: “This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets.”

Jim Tucker, Partner at KPMG and Joint Special Manager of Thomas Cook’s Retail division, said: “This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement.”

“Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate.”

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.”

A post on their website read:


We are delighted that Hays Travel has been successful in acquiring all of the Thomas Cook shops in the UK meaning that we can now offer opportunities to more people.

We have already recruited over 400 talented former Thomas Cook employees and we are ready to welcome many more of the retail branch staff.

This news means that we can begin to re-open Thomas Cook stores, in their new Hays livery, from today. We aim to open as many as we logistically can as soon as possible.

We are very grateful to all our Hays Travel colleagues who have worked their socks off to help make this happen over the last two weeks.

We know how devastating it must have been – many of you have shared your experiences with us and it has been an emotional time for all of us.

In coming to Hays Travel you can be assured that we will be doing our utmost to build upon all that was good about the much-loved Thomas Cook brand. And we will share with you our own strong values and belief in our people as we work together to ensure a smooth transition for the whole of the business.

For recruitment queries, please direct colleagues to the helpline – 0800 215 5995 or our website –

With best wishes

John and Irene Hays



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