Tour operator Hays will take on all 555 of collapsed competitor Thomas Cook’s stores, it has been revealed.
The colossal deal will see Hays more than treble its number of outlets and double its workforce.
Hays, which was founded 40 years ago by husband and wife team, John and Irene Hays, also confirmed that it would save up to 2,500 Thomas Cook jobs and reopen stores “within days”.
However, some job losses and store closures would be “inevitable”, said the independently owned firm.
While the value of the deal has yet to be disclosed, the Official Receiver operating on behalf of Thomas Cook – which folded last month – said the transaction represented an “an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets”.
Commenting on the deal, John Hays, co-owner and managing director of Hays Travel, 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.”
Chair and co-owner Irene Hays added: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry.
“We will build on the good things Thomas Cook had – not least its people – and that will put us in even better stead for the future”
Welcoming the move, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said she hoped the deal “will provide significant re-employment opportunities for former Thomas Cook employees, alongside the advice and support we will continue to provide to help people find a new job as quickly as possible.”