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Thomas Cook jobs saved as Hays Travel swoops on 555 stores

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A Thomas Cook travel agent store 
The deal could save 555 stores across the country and is a boost for struggling British high streets.  Credit: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images Europe

Holiday firm Hays Travel has stunned the City with a “mightily ambitious” deal to take over Thomas Cook’s 555 UK stores, rescuing up to 2,500 jobs. 

The swoop catapults the family-owned firm into the national spotlight and will almost quadruple its store estate from 190 to 745. 

It provides a lifeline to Thomas Cook staff made redundant by the 178-year-old travel company’s collapse into insolvency on September 23 and is a much-needed boost for Britain’s ailing high streets

But the buyout, for an undisclosed sum, sparked scepticism that family-owned Hays can make a profit from the stores in the face of rising online competition when listed giant Thomas Cook could not.

Patrick O’Brien, a retail...

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