Tour operator Thomas Cook has announced the closing of 21 of its high street branches.
The Thomas Cook Group’s leisure brand began in 1841 and has a customer base of 19 million. The company blamed Brits’ growing preference to book their travel needs online. Web bookings made up 64% of Thomas Cook’s business in 2018. This means that the rent for the physical stores is another expense for the company.
The closure will also mean that hundreds of jobs are at risk. It is currently unclear what the impact will be for holidaymakers who have booked their vacations in one of the affected stores. Thomas Cook has not yet addressed this.
Below is the list of Thomas Cook stores that will shut their doors:
- Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne
- West Bromwich Sandwell Centre, West Midlands
- Llandudno, North Wales
- Sunderland Sainsbury’s, Tyne & Wear
- North Shields, Tyne & Wear
- Peterlee, County Durham
- Accrington, Lancashire
- Market Harborough, 23 St Marys Place, Leicestershire
- Bury Haymarket, Lancashire
- Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
- Aberdeen Langstane, Aberdeen
- Chesham, Buckinghamshire
- Launceston, Cornwall
- Stevenage, Hertfordshire
- Shipley, West Yorkshire
- Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire
- Guildford, Surrey
- Glenrothes, 52 Unicorn Way, Fife
- Colchester High St, Essex
- Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
- Kirkintilloch Cowgate, Glasgow
Thomas Cook’s chief of tour operating, Will Waggott, said: “Today’s announcement reflects the wider challenges seen on the high street, with more and more customers choosing to book online. These measures will help us to drive greater efficiencies across Thomas Cook so that we relentlessly focus our resources in those areas that give us the greatest opportunity to make a difference to customers in our core holiday offering.”
“Looking ahead, we will be working to ensure that Thomas Cook is fit for the future, putting a rigorous focus on costs in a competitive environment while giving customers more reasons to holiday with the strongest brand in travel,” he added.
There is a level of mistrust with travel agents, for there are cheaper deals online compared to in-store deals. Travel agents may also be starting to lose business with Brexit round the corner as everything is up in the air and many consumers may be hesitant to part with their hard-earned cash.