Thomas Cook takeover deal could lead to reopening of Galashiels travel shop

Thomas Cook in Channel Street, Galashiels.
Thomas Cook in Channel Street, Galashiels.

Staff left unemployed after Thomas Cook’s Galashiels branch shut with next to no warning have been offered hope of getting their jobs back now a takeover by a rival travel firm has been agreed.

The 178-year-old travel company folded on Monday, September 23, after failing to secure a rescue deal.

A note to customers left by staff at Thomas Cook in Galashiels after its closure.

A note to customers left by staff at Thomas Cook in Galashiels after its closure.

The move left hundreds of staff facing uncertain futures across the UK, including four at its Channel Street branch in Galashiels.

Now Hays Travel has agreed to take over all of the firm’s 555 stores, however.

The Sunderland-based travel company has already taken on 421 members of Thomas Cook’s 9,000 UK staff since it went out of business last month, and it is hoped the Channel Street outlet will now be in line to reopen.

Founder John Hays said: “It is a game-changer for us, almost trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce, and for the industry, which will get to keep some of its most talented people.

“We are looking forward to welcoming many more people who share our passion for the travel industry, into our family business.”

About 60 Thomas Cook shops in Scotland have been sold in a deal that could save hundreds of jobs.

The deal involves purchasing assets from the official receiver appointed after Thomas Cook collapsed last month.

Mr Hays and his wife Irene still own the business they set up in 1980, employing 1,900 staff. Last year, it reported sales of £379m, generating profits of £10m.

The price of the takeover deal has not been announced.

The Galashiels Thomas Cook branch,the company’s only shop in the Borders, has been shut to the public since the company’s closure announcement so no one was available for comment.

At the moment, Hays Travel has no branches in the Borders, its nearest ones being in Hexham and Morpeth in Northumberland.