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Great news for Thomas Cook employees

Hays travel purchases all stores

Great news for former Thomas Cook travel store employees.

Hays Travel has agreed a deal to buy all 555 Thomas Cook stores in the UK, offering work to hundreds who lost their jobs.

Hays, the country's largest independent travel agent, told Sky News it had already taken on 494 ex-Thomas Cook employees.

They were among 9,000 staff in the UK who lost out when the company collapsed last month - prompting the country's biggest peacetime repatriation exercise to recover more than 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.

That exercise was completed last weekend.

The Official Receiver's statement said the property deal, for an undisclosed sum, provided opportunities for a "significant number" of former Thomas Cook workers and further offers of employment were outstanding.

David Chapman said: "I am pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Hays Travel to acquire Thomas Cook's entire UK retail estate, comprising 555 stores across the country.

"This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company's assets."

The news will be seen as a lift for the UK's high streets as a crisis of consumer confidence combines with surging costs to hurt store-focused retailers.

Thomas Cook's demise also reignited fears for the wider travel market as airlines engage in a price war at a time of dented demand and higher fuel costs.

Hays also runs the Hays Travel Independence Group, a consortium of independent travel agents.

The company's brands include Just Go Travel which trades under the Hays Travel name predominantly across the North West of England.

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

It is not yet known when stores will re-open

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