Thomson and Cook in crucial truce talks

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The Independent Online
A crucial attempt was being made last night to resolve the fierce row between Thomson, the market leading tour operator, and Thomas Cook, one of the biggest travel agency chains, writes John Shepherd.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said yesterday that Thomson had initiated the moves to try and resolve the row. The row was fuelled by Thomson demanding that Thomas Cook accept lower commission rates on its holidays.

Thomson, which recently pulled the plug on its computerised booking system in all of Thomas Cook's nation-wide network of 385 High Street shops, refused to comment. Thomas Cook has had no option but to withdraw Thomson brochures from its shelves.

Failure to reach an amicable settlement would hurt both companies as the holiday industry gears up for the key January to March selling season. More than 10 per cent of Thomas Cook's business comes from selling Thomson holidays.

In turn, Thomas Cook is Thomson's second biggest customer after its own 650-strong chain of Lunn Poly travel agency shops. A leisure analyst reckoned that Thomas Cook sold almost 8 per cent of the 3 million holidays that Thomson sold in this year's winter and summer seasons.

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