Barrhead Travel to open up to 100 new stores after Thomas Cook collapse

The ambitiousproposal would see Barrhead Travel more than double its current footprint. Picture: Michael Gillen
The ambitiousproposal would see Barrhead Travel more than double its current footprint. Picture: Michael Gillen
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Barrhead Travel plans to open as many as 100 new stores in the wake of the collapse of travel giant Thomas Cook.

The Glasgow travel group has announced plans to launch up to 100 Barrhead-branded outlets and rehire "a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees as quickly as possible".

Holiday giant Thomas Cook collapsed late last month. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP

Holiday giant Thomas Cook collapsed late last month. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP

Barrhead last month threw a lifeline to scores of Thomas Cook staff who lost their jobs with its recent collapse, by opening up 100 positions across its existing stores.

The ambitious proposal would see Barrhead more than double its current footprint, which consists of a network of 76 stores with a strong presence in Scotland, as well as outlets in Newcastle, Cumbria, Leicester, Southampton and Belfast.

The news comes the day after Sunderland-based Hays Travel announced it will buy all 555 stores from Thomas Cook in a deal which could lead to 2,500 jobs being saved. About 9,000 UK staff were affected by the travel giant's demise.

Hays said it has already hired almost 600 ex-Thomas Cook retail employees and that job offers were pending for many more.

The deal will see Hays, which trades predominantly across north-west England, gain a presence in new regions across the UK.

'Ambitious expansion plans'

Mike Batt, chairman at Barrhead owner Travel Leaders Group, said: “Since our acquisition of Barrhead Travel, we have been exploring ambitious expansion plans for this trusted brand. The situation with Thomas Cook has accelerated those plans.

“This plan could provide hundreds of available jobs for Thomas Cook employees who were displaced by the closure of the branches.

“It would also ensure that the travelling public in communities across the UK have access to high quality travel services provided by professionals and operated by a strong, stable company.”

Barrhead president Jacqueline Dobson said the business has launched a major recruitment drive that has already seen the group recruit a "good number" of ex-Thomas Cook workers.

She said: “With the backing of Travel Leaders Group, we are looking forward to opening more Barrhead stores and helping our colleagues across the industry get back to serving their loyal clients. The high street travel agency is very much alive in the UK and is pivotal in today’s holiday booking journey.”

Barrhead Travel was acquired by Travel Leaders Group, one of the largest retail travel companies globally with more than 6,000 travel agency locations worldwide, in February 2018.

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