Thomas Cook to close more stores

Thomas Cook, holiday, tourism, online, book, stores, close, UK, 2018, trend

Thomas Cook

More customers are buying package tours online

Tour operator Thomas Cook has announced plans to close 50 of its stores as part of a review of its retail network.

The outlets that will close are in the UK and are either geographically close to other stores or have seen “a decline in footfall [which] has impacted profitability”.

Thomas Cook – a group that in Scandinavia includes the tour operators Ving, Globetrotter, Spies and Tjäreborg and sells around 1,500,000 trips a year in the Nordic countries – says the closures will happen over the next three months.

The group stresses that the move is part of a general trend in which an increasing number of travel purchases are made online.

The locations scheduled to close include both Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel branded stores, with up to 400 employees affected.

Just 47% booked in stores
Stores in towns and shopping centres remain an important channel to showcase the operator’s holidays and “provide expertise and reassurance to customers”. But 46% of Thomas Cook bookings in 2017 have been made online, as opposed to just 47% being booked in stores.

“We continually review our network of stores […] 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, director of retail and customer experience.

Thomas Cook has already cut the size of its network by 45% in the UK over the last five years, even before the latest cuts, to 692 stores. The new wave of closure reduces that figure even more.

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