Thomas Cook closes 125 more shops

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The Independent Online

Thomas Cook is planning to close about 200 of its high-street travel agencies in a move which threatens more than 1,000 jobs.

The company had already announced the closure of about 75 shops following its merger with Co-operative Travel, but it is set to add another 125 on Thursday when it unveils the results of a wide-ranging review of its UK operations.

Thomas Cook will be left with about 1,000 high street stores across the UK following the closures, which will be in several stages, with staff redeployed elsewhere where possible.

The company, whose founder began offering excursions in the 1840s, has been going through a difficult period, issuing three profits warnings this year amid weak demand for travel. These unsettled investors so much that Thomas Cook's shares have slumped from about 200p in January to close on Friday at just 41.6p.

To compound the crisis, Manny Fontenla-Novoa resigned suddenly as chief executive in August, with his deputy, Sam Weihagen, taking over until a permanent replacement can be found.

Thomas Cook also has a new chairman, having appointed Frank Meysman in September to succeed Michael Beckett from 1 December.

Thomas Cook declined to comment on any additional store closures ahead of the scheduled announcement on Thursday. The group is Europe's second-biggest tour operator, after Tui, and sells about 22.5 million holidays to Britons each year.