Online shock for UK travel stores

LONDON; 7 December 2017: A sign of the times, Thomas Cook intends to close 50 of its retail travel stores in the UK over the next few months, according to reports in the UK media.

Thomas Cook revealed plans, earlier this week, to close another 50 shops as part of its ongoing review of its retail network that could see up to 400 employees lose their jobs or be shifted to different posts.

The closures will involve around two thirds of all Thomas Cook stores and a third Co-operative Travel the company stated.

A Thomas Cook spokesperson told TTG UK the stores affected were either in close proximity to others or were located “where a decline in footfall had impacted profitability”.

Thomas Cook dropped to third place in the top revenue turnover league of UK licensed tour operators last October. It closed 39 stores earlier in the year.

Online stores are hitting high street shops hard in the UK as consumers shift to the convenience of shopping online.

The trend is impacting across all segments, not just travel, cutting into the revenue of super markets and traditional high street stores.

Thomas Cook UK’s director of retail and customer experience, Kathryn Darbandi told TTG UK: “We continually review our network of stores across the UK to make sure we’re offering customers the best of Thomas Cook, and it is clear that to succeed we have to operate as a truly omni-channel business.

So far this year, 47% of Thomas Cook holidays were booked in stores, but online sales in the UK grew by 27%.