Thomas Cook plan to close 195 stores

Thomas cook, Lewes
Thomas cook, Lewes
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Thomas Cook, which has a store in Eastgate Street, Lewes, has announced plans to close 195 high street stores.

The travel agents said it would still maintain a presence on the British high street, keeping 874 outlets open.

The company was unable to tell the Sussex Express at this stage whether the Lewes store would be affected.

Thomas Cook said a number of its stores did not meet the performance targets of the business, and were in communities where Thomas Cook had more than one retail outlet.

It explained this consultation aimed to address excess capacity.

Thomas Cook UK and Ireland’s CEO Peter Fankhauser said: “It is never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people, but we also owe it to our customers to shape the business effectively and ensure that, when they book their holiday with us, our administrative costs are as low as possible.

“As we improve and develop our online capabilities, maintaining a strong presence on the High Street is an important part of our omni-channel strategy.

“Even after these changes we will still have one of the largest retail networks in UK travel.

“It is essential that we operate with the right number of people as we move forward into the next era for our company, allowing us to meet the future needs of our customers more effectively.

“These proposals will mean a stronger Thomas Cook that continues to be a major employer in the UK dedicated to providing excellent holiday experiences to our 23 million customers.

“We are in consultation with our Unions and employee representative bodies to minimise the impact of these changes and I am speaking personally to all employees today to provide information and support through this period of consultation.”

Thomas Cook UK and Ireland has entered into a 90 day consultation process with a number of its UK employees on the next phase of the three-year programme to transform its operations.

It said the UK business needed to reduce cost to ensure back office costs were not passed on to customers and that the necessary operational changes were made to reflect evolving customer needs and purchasing requirements.

The company has 1,069 stores in the UK, making it the largest high street travel retailer.

Thomas Cook is also planning to place a number of administrative and managerial roles at risk at head offices in Peterborough and Preston, whilst proposing the closure of its Accrington office.

Thomas Cook currently employees 15,500 people in the UK and it is anticipated that approximately 2,500 full-time roles will go if the proposed changes go ahead.