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Published on Monday, January 25, 2021

Hays Travel to close 89 shops

The third national lockdown and the current travel ban have been blamed for the closure of 89 of Hays Travel's shops.

The travel agency group - the largest in the UK - is offering options for alternative work to the 388 staff affected.

The company had deferred reviewing the performance of the former Thomas Cook shops it acquired in October 2019 to see if business returned in 2021.  However it said the third national lockdown and travel ban leading to major holiday operators suspending flights and holidays, meant the company had to act.

Jonathon Woodall, Chief Operating Officer, said it would begin consulting with 388 retail staff on potential options to reduce the number of redundancies.

"Our first priority is to continue to look after our customers and we offer the highest standards of customer service through our retail, phone and online divisions.  We are continuing with our robust two-year business plan and continue to be ready for the bounce back when it comes," he said.

Dame Irene Hays, owner and chair of Hays Travel, said: "It was always our intention to review the performance of our shops at the end of the licence period - we had hoped the business would bounce back in January and it has not.  We have done everything we could to safeguard jobs and the business thus far, and we have come up with a range of options for those at risk of redundancy to help as many colleagues as we can." 

Among other options, staff will be offered the chance to join the Hays Travel Homeworking Division, to work from home, or take positions in other shops where there is a vacancy.

Hays Travel currently operates 535 shops and employs 7,700 people.  During the lockdown, many staff are currently working from home, taking bookings for holidays for 2021 and beyond, offering the Hays Travel 'Peace of Mind Guarantee' which allows customers to cancel or rebook for any reason up to six weeks before departure.

After Hays Travel announced consultation on 878 redundancies in its Foreign Exchange and Travel Academy in September 2020, 261 permanent and temporary jobs were saved.

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)

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