Thomas Cook is one of the world’s top leisure travel groups (Source:)
Thomas Cook store

Thomas Cook has said it is planning to close 50 of its 690 stores as part of a review of its UK retail network.

The proposed closures will take place by March next year and will affect up to 400 staff at a mix of Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel branded stores.

“We hope to redeploy a large proportion of those people,” a spokesperson said.

Thomas Cook says the stores affected are either close to other stores or are located where a fall in customers has hit profitability.

The firm would not disclose the location of the stores under threat.

Less than half (47%) of its holidays have been booked in store this year, Thomas Cook said, while online sales in the UK grew by 27%.

“We continually review our network of stores across the UK to make sure we’re offering customers the best of Thomas Cook, and it is clear that to succeed we have to operate as a truly omni-channel business,” said Thomas Cook UK’s director of retail and customer experience, Kathryn Darbandi.

The announcement comes just a week after the firm reported that earnings at its UK division had plunged by 40% in the year to 30 September

Thomas Cook is mulling the closure of 50 UK stores as part of an ongoing review of its retail network.

The travel firm announced the proposal today, and said if the plans go ahead, the shops – a mix of Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel brands – would close between now and March 2018.

The stores under threat of closure are located either near other stores or where a decline in footfall has impacted profitability, said Thomas Cook, which operates around 830 retail outlets in the UK and Ireland.

Read moreThomas Cook boosted by Condor turnaround but feels the heat on UK margins

“We continually review our network of stores across the UK to make sure we’re offering customers the best of Thomas Cook, and it is clear that to succeed we have to operate as a truly omni-channel business,” said Kathryn Darbandi, the company’s UK director of retail and customer experience.

“We’re one Thomas Cook to our customers and we will offer them a world-class service whichever channel they chose to book, be that retail or online.”

The firm insisted its retail stores are still an important channel for sales, but the company is working to become an omni-channel business. In 2017, 47 per cent of Thomas Cook holidays were booked in store while online sales in the UK grew by 27 per cent.

It said earlier this month it plans to branch out to grow profitably, including by building up its own-brand hotel portfolio.

Read moreThomas Cook has just launched a new airline

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