Thomas Cook to shut 21 stores and cut jobs in shift to online
LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - British travel company Thomas
Cook plans to axe 320 jobs and close 21 stores in its UK
retail network to cut costs as consumers increasingly shop
online, it said on Friday.
Thomas Cook endured a tough 2018 when a heatwave in northern
Europe deterred holidaymakers from booking last-minute deals,
leading to two profit warnings and talk of a need to raise
The company has also said it would consider a sale of its
airline business to raise cash.
"Today's announcement reflects the wider challenges seen on
the high street, with more and more customers choosing to book
online," said Will Waggott, who runs the company's tour operator
"We will be working to ensure that Thomas Cook is fit for
the future, putting a rigorous focus on costs in a competitive
The store closures reduce Thomas Cook's retail network to
566 shops, half the total it had in 2012.
In addition to 102 job losses at those 21 stores, a further
218 roles will be cut across its other shops, for which staff
and union consultations have begun.
Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel company, has long had
a visible presence on Britain's shopping streets but it said
that 64 percent of its bookings in the UK last year were made
online and that this was its fastest-growing sales channel.
Weak demand and rising costs have put intense pressure on
prominent British brands for some time, with the likes of
department store BHS and Toys R Us going bust in recent years
and Marks & Spencer and Debenhams announcing
(Reporting by Alistair Smout
Editing by David Goodman)
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