Thomas Cook to cut 2,500 jobs and close 195 branches
World's oldest travel firm closes fifth of branches while bed store Dreams goes into administration
TRAVEL AGENT Thomas Cook announced today it will cut 2,500 jobs and close 195 of its branches in the UK as the floundering business attempts to revive its profitability.
The majority of the jobs lost will be from the business’s administrative offices in Preston and Accrington in Lancashire, while positions in the company’s head office in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, are at risk as well, Reuters notes. The world’s oldest travel firm will also close nearly a fifth of its 1,069 shops as part of the cuts.
Thomas Cook has been through a difficult period. Former CEO Manny Fontenla-Novoa quit after releasing three profit warnings in 2011. In the financial year to September, the firm reported pre-tax losses of £485.3 million. In 2012, it cut more than 1,100 from its 15,500-strong workforce in Britain and Ireland, including 250 retail staff.
Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook's Europe and UK boss, said today the company had to lower its admin costs to survive but added it was “never easy" to make cuts.
"As we improve and develop our online capabilities, maintaining a strong presence on the high street is an important part of our strategy. Even after these changes, we will still have one of the largest retail networks in UK travel", he said.
The news comes amid more gloom on Britain’s embattled high street with bed firm Dreams, which is in administration, announcing it would shed at least 400 jobs.
HMV, Jessops, Blockbusters and fashion chain Republic have all entered administration since Christmas. The British Retail Consortium has called on Chancellor George Osborne to take urgent measures to help high street retailers in this month's Budget. ·