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Thomas Cook shops to reopen across Norfolk thanks to rescue deal

PUBLISHED: 10:44 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:14 09 October 2019

The Thomas Cook branch in Norwich is one of many hoped to reopen

The Thomas Cook branch in Norwich is one of many hoped to reopen "immediately". Picture: Archant

Archant

Thomas Cook employees have had their jobs saved after a rival bought all of the stricken firm's stores.

Hays Travel, the UK's largest independent travel agent, has struck a deal to buy 555 of the company's stores across the UK - and those in Norfolk could be back in business this week.

The business also said it will reopen Thomas Cook shops immediately, potentially saving the jobs of 2,500 people.

Thomas Cook has two sites, which have been closed for a number of weeks, in Norwich.

It also had branches in Fakenham, Diss and King's Lynn.

Hays Travel has already employed 421 ex-Thomas Cook employees.

The Sunderland-based firm has a number of sites across Norfolk, including branches in Norwich, Cromer, Sheringham, Downham Market and Fakenham.

"This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement," said Jim Tucker, a KPMG partner who was appointed joint special manager of Thomas Cook's retail division after the failure.

"It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street."

Thomas Cook collapsed on September 23, leaving around 150,000 passengers stranded abroad.

John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chairwoman of Hays Travel, said: "Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people. We look forward to working with many of them."

Mr Tucker said the administrators would work with Hays to "ensure a smooth transition of the store estate".

He added: "We are pleased to have achieved this in a short time frame and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties."

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