"Don't just book it, Thomas Co-operative it" not as catchy, claim holiday makers
How we book flights and holidays has changed beyond recognition in the last decade, and none of it has been good news for the monopolistic high street travel outlets. The fact that we can travel the world without bothering with them is testament to the fact that the internet really can be useful for stuff other than free German yankee doodle.
For example, the last time I walked into a travel agents and booked a holiday was 2004, and I'm certain it's my determination to hold out for six years that has finally forced Thomas Cook and Co-op Travel to merge operations.
It's not the first merger, and it won't be the last, but it will create the largest travel network of its kind in the UK. While the two brands will continue to operate separately, Thomas Cook subsidiary Going Places will disappear from the high street, as these stores are re-branded Co-operative Travel. So the store will remain, but the back-end operations will be merged and, according to a press statement, "provide significant opportunity to drive additional sales".
It's better to spin the story that way - to discuss how the merged company will expand in the face of stifling competition - but the press statement also states the merger is likely to create annual savings of more than £35m across the two firms.
Of course businesses should make efficiencies where they can, but you can't help feeling that they're clawing to the sides of a slippery slope that descends into a deep generational hole, a similar fate to that of Woolworths; in the next few years it won't make sense to pay for premium premises when the majority of consumers will never bother walking through their door.