Deathwatch: Ailing Thomas Cook cut jobs and shops

6 March 2013

There’s been carnage in the travel industry today, with Thomas Cook announcing the loss of 2,500 UK jobs and the closure of almost 200 stores, action taken in an attempt to revive its profitability.

Thomas Cook has said that most of the job losses will come from its ‘back-office functions and its retail network’ and come on the back of recent pre-tax losses of £485.3m, the kind of figures that would make you yearn for a break in the sun. They have begun a 90-day consultation process with employees regarding redundancies.

The plans announced today mean that 195 of 1,069 current Thomas Cook stores will close, with about 16% of the workforce heading for permanent holiday leave.

Things started to go seriously awry for the travel company in 2011 when the Arab Spring led to a sharp fall in bookings for holidays in the Middle East and North Africa.

But does it also mean that more of us are changing the way we plan our trips? Savvier travellers have more options these days and even those of us who always book through a high street travel agent are becoming more inclined to do it online rather than drag our carcasses down to some badly-decorated shop.

As ever, we crave your thoughts.


  • Justin A.
    Companies like TC are, aside from when they fly you in their jets, just aggregators that make a mark-up on what the hotels and airlines are charging. The internet's made us all a lot savvier and it's not such a mysterious industry anymore, hidden behind a shop front with the hoteliers and airlines' headquarters kept a continent away where we can't reach them ourselves. Why let Thomas Cook book it when you can sort it all yourself with a few mouse clicks and at a lower price?
  • Zeddy
    "The plans announced today mean that 195 of 1,069 current Thomas Cook stores will close, with about 16% of the workforce heading for permanent holiday leave." With that sort of glib comment, isn't about time you lot fucked off? Not on holiday leave, just fucked off.
  • oliverreed
    @Justin Manchester AfterDark - I think going direct leaves you high and dry if something goes wrong - the UK travel agents should be APTA protected - of course that might not be a major concern for some.
  • Cornerflag
    Here's hoping Thomson are next... Reaping the rewards of all that piss poor customer service..and over inflated prices... Makes way for decent companies...
  • Toby j.
    maybe if TC stopped advertising those holidays in their windows with the bogus prices, they might have done better
  • andy y.
    Like every throwback High St retailer that will be totally crushed by the internet it is just a matter of time.The only worthwhile debate is how long. Till then they will hang on in denial for as long as possible. They know this but are stuck in long shop leases that no-one else will take on. Other than Food,Fashion and Fags it's Fuc ked
  • Gordon B.
    Meh. Can't say I'll miss Thomas Cook. Overpriced and the 'travel agents' were devoid of all knowledge of the world (apart from banging someone on a beach in Ibiza). The only thing they offer is ABTA protection but that, having experienced it when XL Airlines went bust, is utterly worthless.
  • Captain C.
    It is not even as if they are value for money; they only offer you the MOST expensive option they can get away with, and then add a whopping profit margin on top. I had a ski holiday given as a birthday present for my son and I a few years ago, it included ski passes at £186 EACH. When we arrived I found out that the £186 was for the entire mountain range, including black runs, and not just for the village where we were staying; and as learners, 99% of the slopes we wanted to use had a free button lift. The following year I booked it all direct and saved over £150 on crossing the Channel, £350 on ski passes and £200 on the apartment - despite going for twice as long.
  • Captain W.
    TravelRepublic are, for some destinations and particularly Europe, a decent method of assembling a package by booking the elements (airport parking, transfers, hotel, flights) direct while retaining ATOL and ABTA protection.
  • Cheesey
    TC only want to sell you the holiday that they make most bucks on. They'll even pretend your selected choices are not available. We told them we wanted to stay in a Disney hotel, they pushed off park hotels. It's like talking to fuckwits. Never again. Look online for where WE want to stay and book it. Drive to TC, speak to a halfwit who wants us to stay somewhere else, wait whilst she farts around pretending to check, tells us we would be better staying at the Los Shitehole apartments....
  • Gabriella
    Not surprised. I worked for them once. Awful country treated me badly then gave a bad reference after pushing me out so I got the sack from another place after only three days. Some how curses do come true and that was 20 years ago. I am sorry for the COOP travel staff because they are good. As for Thomas Cook, one store will remain out of 3 in the district area I live in unfortunately in the area I live in. The store that was recently robbed the staff will lose their jobs. But hey ho, that's management for ya

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