Thomas Cook to close 200 UK branches

Thomas Cook has said it will close 200 UK branches over the next two years as part of its UK business turnaround plan – 125 more than previously announced.Thomas Cook to close 200 UK branchesStaff at 115 of the affected outlets are expected to learn their fate on Wednesday with the loss of 661 jobs.

News of the closures came as the travel firm reported a £398 million loss for the year to the end of September.

The world’s oldest travel agency has been looking to cut its debts to restore the confidence of investors.

In November, it secured £200 million of new financing, just days after seeing its shares plunge 75% in one day.

Its lenders, including Barclays, HSBC, RBS and UniCredit, agreed to provide the new facility until 30 April 2013.

Thomas Cook has blamed the unrest in Egypt and Tunisia and floods in Thailand, all key holiday destinations for the company, for hitting sales.

“This has been a very challenging year for the group, despite which we still delivered an underlying operating profit of over £300 million,” said chief executive Sam Weihagen.

Business has also been further hurt by news of the company’s financial troubles.

Winter bookings from the UK are down 11% on last year. However, Thomas Cook was keen to highlight that bookings for next summer are 8% up from a year ago.

Thomas Cook’s results were at the bottom end of market expectations.

They were hit by exceptional charges of £573 million, which included write-downs in the value of its UK and Canadian business.

The firm also plans to cut its aeroplane fleet from 41 to 35, and drop 500 hotels from its offerings.

Of the 200 closures, 75 had already been previously announced following Thomas Cook’s merger with the Co-op’s travel agency business, which had left it with 1,300 outlets.

Of the closures already planned, 22 were already in progress, affecting 109 employees. The 115 additional closures to be initiated on Wednesday come on top of this figure.

December 30, 2011 · Home Based Jobs · Comments Closed
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