Hays Travel eyes Thomas Cook shops under threat

Hays Travel eyes Thomas Cook shops under threat

Hays Travel will consider opening branches at former Thomas Cook stores if locations are right as well as recruiting staff for its homeworking division.

Thomas Cook announced this morning it will shed 2,500 staff and close 195 stores. It has yet to announce the locations of shops it will be shutting.

Hays Travel managing director John Hays said the group continued to have faith in the high-street and would be interested in acquiring further locations on the high-street in areas suitable to its business.

Hays said: "I continue to believe in the high street. It's sad that so many people will be losing their jobs but we see it as an opportunity for us both in retail terms and in terms of homeworking.

"We will talk to Cook once we know where the planned closures are and we would be interested in high street shops. They would need to be in the right location where we can do the right level of business."

The company has actively recruited staff for its homeworking divisions following recent failures such as the Bowen Travel Group and would to take on Thomas Cook staff interested in a new career, added Hays.

"We have taken on staff from Thomas Cook in the past and they have performed well so obviously while it's sad for the staff we see a real opportunity if they are prepared to be flexible and change their career," he said.

The company has around 300 self-employed homeworkers currently in two divisions: personal travel consultants who generate their own client base and are paid 60% of their commission and telesales homeworkers who are fed sales calls and receive 30% commission.

Hays said the company was enjoying solid growth, with sales from its retail estate up 20% in February. "We are still seeing good evidence that people want to book with good quality travel agents. This is an opportunity for independent agents; people still value independent advice as much as ever."

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