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Peterborough-based Thomas Cook to close 50 branches

Thomas Cook is to close 50 of its high street travel agencies. Credit: Sebastian Kahnert/DPA/PA Images

Travel giant Thomas Cook, which has its UK headquarters in Peterborough, is to close 50 high street shops, putting 400 jobs at risk, just weeks before Christmas.

The closures will affect Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel branded stores and will take place between now and March 2018.

Thomas Cook said that the affected stores are either in close proximity to other outlets or are located where a decline in footfall has impacted profitability.

A rise in online travel bookings was also flagged as a reason for the closures, with the group saying that just 47% holidays were booked in store this year while online sales in the UK grew by 27%.

“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.

"We’re one Thomas Cook to our customers and we will offer them a world-class service whichever channel they chose to book, be that retail or online.”

– Kathryn Darbandi, Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook employs 22,000 people worldwide and had sales of £7.8 billion in 2016.

Peterborough-based Thomas Cook cancels more flights to Sharm el Sheikh

Thomas Cook has cancelled all its flights and holidays to Sharm el Sheikh until November 25. Credit: Christoph Schmidt / PA wire.

Peterborough-based travel company Thomas Cook has cancelled all flights and holidays to Sharm el Sheikh until November 25.

Customers due to travel up to Thursday December 10 will be offered the chance to re-book their trips or cancel them.

Meanwhile two Thomas Cook flights will depart Sharm el Sheikh this evening, bringing holidaymakers back to the UK.

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Nine years on: Apology from Thomas Cook for child holiday deaths

It has taken nine years but today the Chief Executive of Peterborough-based Thomas Cook finally said he was "deeply sorry" for the deaths of two British children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu.

Christi and Bobby Shepherd, who were 6 and 7, died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek island in 2006 while on a Thomas Cook holiday. An inquest ruled last week that the company had "breached its duty of care".

Now the company is trying to fight back from what has been widely considered to be a PR disaster.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

Thomas Cook boss to apologise directly to parents

The chief executive of Thomas Cook says he is 'deeply sorry' over the deaths of Christi and Bobby Shepherd.

The boss of Thomas Cook has said he is "deeply sorry" over the deaths of two young children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu and apologised for the company's handling of the incident.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of the travel firm which has its UK base in Peterborough, pledged to apologise directly to the family of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, who died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek holiday island in 2006. The children were overcome by fumes from a faulty boiler.

Thomas Cook employs 1,000 people in the Peterborough area and is facing a public backlash over the way it has treated the family since the tragedy.

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Ex-Thomas Cook boss condemns handling of Corfu deaths

The former managing director of Thomas Cook has criticised the company's handling of the deaths of two children in a hotel in Corfu.

John McEwan said the company "should have spent a great deal more time thinking about how they engage with the family" of Bobby and Christi Shepherd who were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu in 2006.

"Their first priority should have always have been the health and wealth of the family through the circumstances they were going through," he told ITV News.

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