Travel firm to close Leicestershire branch in hometown of founder

Travel firm Thomas Cook is closing 21 stores across the country and cutting more than 300 jobs.

Among the closures is the company’s Market Harborough branch – the hometown of its eponymous founder

The company said it is taking steps to streamline its UK retail network as part of an ongoing programme “to drive greater efficiencies across the business and address changing customer behaviour”.

Thomas Cook said more and more holidaymakers are switching online, accounting for 64% of all Thomas Cook bookings in the UK last year. Growth in online has been the fastest in all sales channels, it said, rising by 30% in 2018.

The closure of the 21 stores would reduce its UK retail estate to 566 shops, which would result in 102 customer‐facing roles being made redundant.

A further 218 store‐based roles are proposed to be removed across the network following a review of the retail workforce.

A consultation process with the affected staff and their union representatives has begun.

Chief of tour operating, Will Waggott, said: “Today’s announcement reflects the wider challenges seen on the high street, with more and more customers choosing to book online. These measures will help us to drive greater efficiencies across Thomas Cook so that we relentlessly focus our resources in those areas that give us the greatest opportunity to make a difference to customers in our core holiday offering.

“Looking ahead, we will be working to ensure that Thomas Cook is fit for the future, putting a rigorous focus on costs in a competitive environment while giving customers more reasons to holiday with the strongest brand in travel.”

The stores earmarked for closure are:
Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne
West Bromwich Sandwell Centre, West Midlands
Llandudno, North Wales
Sunderland Sainsbury’s, Tyne & Wear
North Shields, Tyne & Wear
Peterlee, County Durham
Accrington, Lancashire
Market Harborough 23 St Marys Place, Leicestershire
Bury Haymarket, Lancashire
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
Aberdeen Langstane, Aberdeen
Chesham, Buckinghamshire
Launceston, Cornwall
Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Shipley, West Yorkshire
Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire
Guildford, Surrey
Glenrothes 52 Unicorn Way, Fife
Colchester High St, Essex
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
Kirkintilloch Cowgate, Glasgow