Thomas Cook struggles

Travel firm sees future in online bookings

Thomas Cook planeThanks to Peter for a link to a recent Guardian Travel feature reporting that Thomas Cook has announced plans to close 21 stores and cut back on its retail workforce. As it happens events at the troubled business seem to be moving more swiftly that they had hoped.
The travel company said the closures, involving the loss of 320 jobs, would help streamline its UK network as part of a wider efficiency programme. A consultation process with the affected staff and unions has begun. The closures will reduce the group’s chain of shops to 566.

The company’s boss of tour operations, Will Waggott, said at the time that “the 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. 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”.

Last year’s heatwave and Brexit blamed for profits warning

Shares in the group have plunged in recent months as Thomas Cook issued a second profit warning and axed its dividend, blaming a disappointing year on the prolonged summer heatwave across Europe in 2018.

Yesterday the Express ran the headline: Is your holiday in trouble amid Thomas Cook results – Can you still book? HOLIDAY FIRM Thomas Cook has been dealt a financial blow amid Brexit uncertainty. But what do these losses mean for holidaymakers? Can you still book a Thomas Cook holiday?

Also yesterday, Sky News reported Thomas Cook slumps to £1.46bn half-year loss as Brexit hits holiday demand. Shares plunge after the firm warns of continuing pressure and says the delay to the UK’s EU departure has not boosted bookings.

The FT places a question-mark over the future of the business – again yesterday – that the sale of the airline (reported here in February) may not be enough for the business to survive. Travel Weekly speculates “who will buy Thomas Cook’s airline”.

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