Shops & Markets

Thomas Cook’s Altrincham branch set to reopen as rival buys collapsed travel firm’s 555 shops

By David Prior at

The Altrincham branch of Thomas Cook looks set for an unlikely reprieve after a rival confirmed it would be buying all 555 of the collapsed travel company’s high street stores.

Sunderland-based Hays Travel, which claims it is the UK’s largest independent travel agent, is buying the shops from the Official Receiver, which was appointed when Thomas Cook collapsed last month.

Hays, which currently has 190 shops across the UK, is now planning to reopen all the shops – including Thomas Cook on George Street in Altrincham – with immediate effect “where possible”.

Thomas Cook’s George Street store

John Hays, who founded 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”.

Hays has 1,900 staff and last year generated sales of £1bn.

David Chapman, the Official Receiver, described the news as an “important step”.

“This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement,” said Jim Tucker, a partner at KPMG and joint special manager of Thomas Cook’s retail division.