Travel industry in ongoing changes in UK and Ireland
Thomas Cook’s chief operating officer has confirmed plans to review the future of up to 300 of the operator’s shops in the UK as their leases come up for renewal over the next three years.
Since March 2013, Cook has shut just under 230 stores as part of its cost-out program. Speaking exclusively to TTG Digital, chief operating officer Peter Fankhauser said that every one of the remaining 849 shops was now profitable and that there would be no formal shop closure program. But he admitted that further shops could be closed depending on their geography and catchment areas.
In the event of a store closing, he said every effort would be made to relocate staff to other nearby shops and homeworking could be a possibility.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook’s longtime competitor Tui is consulting with some of its retail staff over changes to working hours in the UK and Ireland, which could lead to some compulsory redundancies. The move would affect employees working at its 300 smallest shops.
Tui explains that it conducted “an extensive review” of the business to see how its “multi-channel experience should be offered to customers”.
“But we’re doing everything we can to keep these to a minimum and hope that staff accept the option available to them so that we can retain as many as possible in the business,” a spokesperson said.
Tui is also proposing changes to trading hours in smaller shops, with the majority reducing by 30 minutes a day, opening at 09:30 instead of 09:00.