Thomas Cook said today it would close 21 stores, reducing its store estate to 566, as more of its business moves online. Last year, said the travel company, 64% of its UK bookings took place online, and ecommerce sales are growing by 30% a year.
The closure of the 21 stores will mean 102 staff being made redundant, while another 218 roles in are set to be go across the Thomas Cook store estate, following consultation with staff and unions.
Thomas Cook said the plan represented an acceleration of its UK efficiency programme at a time when customer behaviour is changing fast. Growth online, it said, “has been the latest in all sales channels, rising by 30% in 2018 with continued strong momentum.”
It also says that its customers trust its digital presence. Customer satisfaction, as measured through its net promoter score, was up by five points in 2018. Two in five holidaymakers leaving the UK on a Thomas Cook holiday now use its app to help manage their holiday.
Will Waggott, chief of tour operating at Thomas Cook, said: “Today’s 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
"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.”
Of the 21 stores to be closed, five are in the home counties, four in the North East, four in Scotland, and three in the North East. One is in the South West, one in Wales, and the remaining three are in the Midlands.
Image courtesy of Thomas Cook