MoreThomas Cook will ‘consider all options’ in group airline review

The boss of Thomas Cook has ruled out more large-scale shop closures this year despite a drop in footfall.

Cook has closed 200 shops in the last two years as part of a review of its retail network and a move towards growing sales online. It currently operates 598 shops in the UK.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: “In the last two years we have closed 200 shops. There are no current plans for a large-scale programme to close shops.

“We continue to review performance of individual stores as and when leases come up, but we don’t have shop closures in our plan.”

Fankhauser was speaking after Cook announced it was launching a strategic review of its airline business following a poor financial performance last year which led the company to issue two profit warnings.

He said Brexit was impacting demand but the business was “well prepared” for any outcome on March 29.

The Brexit Q&A on Cook’s website receives 800 hits a day, Fankhauser said.

“In the UK some customers appear to be putting off booking amidst uncertainty about Brexit and we’re seeing a decline with footfall in stores.”

But he added: “We feel very well prepared whatever the outcome so we can’t see a situation where airlines will be grounded. We are really confident we will be able to offer customers a choice of holiday even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”
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MoreThomas Cook will ‘consider all options’ in group airline review