1. ITV Report

Colchester and Stevenage stores set to close as part of Thomas Cook restructure

Thomas Cook experienced a tough year in 2018. Credit: PA

The Peterborough-based travel firm Thomas Cook has announced plans to close 21 stores nationwide - including its stores in Stevenage and Colchester.

Just over a hundred jobs will be axed across the country initially, while a further 218 roles could also go following a review.

The move would take the number of Thomas Cook shops down to 566.

The company says it needs to streamline the business because more customers are switching online, with 64% of bookings being made on the web last year.

A consultation with staff and unions has already started.

The travel group recently announced a second profit warning in November, when it said that bookings were down as a result of people choosing to stay in the UK during last summer's heatwave.

“Today’s announcement reflects the wider challenges seen on the high street, with more and more customers choosing to book online," Chief of Tour Operating, Will Waggott, said.

"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.

“Looking ahead, 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.”