Hays Travel is exceeding the forecasts it gave to the CAA following its acquisition of the Thomas Cook retail estate; with bosses insisting there will not be a swathe of closures when licence agreements end.
Hays Travel acquired all 555 Cook stores when the travel giant collapsed last September, with 467 now open under the Hays banner.
Speaking to TTG during the Hays Travel Independence Group conference, chair Irene Hays confirmed that Hays Travel was given a licence to occupy each premises for nine months, with an option to extend by three further months.
In “the majority” of viable locations where Hays ended up with duplicates, both have been retained, Irene Hays added.
While some of the Cook stores have not been opened, and there may be a “tiny number” of further premises closed or consolidated, John Hays said he expected Hays Travel’s overall number of travel agencies – which stands at about 650 – to remain stable.
Irene Hays added that in “tens” of locations where Hays did not want to take on a particular Cook premises, Hays had taken on brand new leases.
John Hays said that of the 2,500 Cook retail staff employed when the business collapsed, about 2,300 had been retained by Hays Travel on the high street, with a further 700 plus recruited. Hays Travel also intends to take on an apprentice for each Hays branch in time for summer.
The pair reiterated that staff were not being made redundant.