Massive job cuts and store closures announced at Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook, a UK based on-line/off-line travel company, has today announced major cuts in both its workforce and the number of its retail outlets.

The company has announced that it is to cut 2,500 jobs from its back office and retail network, and close 195 stores as it attempts to restructure for future profitability. The job cuts represent just over 16 percent of the company’s present UK workforce of 15,500, and a 90-day consultation will now begin in relation to the losses.

Jobs at Thomas Cook’s head offices in Peterborough and Preston are at risk, and the Accrington office is earmarked for closure. Those stores that ‘do not meet the performance targets of the business’, and those in areas where the company has multiple outlets, will close.

Thomas Cook’s chief executive for Continental Europe & UK, 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.’