Thomas Cook axes jobs and shops as consumers move online

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UK holiday firm Thomas Cook said it’s closing a number of stores across the nation and cutting more than 300 jobs as more of its customers switch to booking their holidays online. 

The company said the new measures were part of a move to “streamline its UK retail network as part of an ongoing programme to drive greater efficiencies across the business and address changing customer behaviour.” 

Thomas Cook said online reservations accounted for 64 per cent of all Thomas Cook bookings in the UK last year. It added that growth in online has been the fastest in all sales channels, rising by 30 per cent in 2018 with continued strong momentum.

Today’s announcement would see the closure of 21 stores across the country, reducing the UK retail estate to 566 shops, which would result in an expected 102 customer-facing roles being made redundant. 

Digital destination: Thomas Cook is closing high street stores

A further 218 store-based roles are proposed to be removed across the network following a review of the retail workforce, the firm said. A consultation process with the affected staff and their union representatives has begun.

Thomas Cook said it has developed its digital travel applications into some of the most trusted in the market. Customer satisfaction with the UK website, measured by net promoter score, rose five points in 2018. In addition, two in five Thomas Cook holidaymakers departing from the UK now use the company’s app to help manage their holiday.

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

“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.”

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