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.