UK tour operator Thomas Cook is to close 28 of its 793 shops as it continues to reduce its number of physical outlets.
The company said the decision was driven by changing consumer behavior. Thomas Cook doesn’t detail what it means by that by undoubtedly fewer travelers want to shop in bricks and mortar travel agencies and those who do want them to be modernized and more high-tech.
As well as announcing the closures, Thomas Cook said that it planned to open some new stores in “leading retail locations”, while it also plans to refurbish another 50.
Around 200 people are employed in the affected stores but the company said it expected the vast majority to be redeployed.
The decision to shut a number of its stores follows a company-wide review, which will also see the remaining shop network recategorised into two formats: Thomas Cook Discovery and Thomas Cook Neighbourhood.
The former will be focussed on high foot-fall areas such as shopping malls and out of town retail parks while the latter will be in traditional town centers.
Thomas Cook’s merger of its high street travel business with that of The Co-operative Group in 2011 created a store network of more than 1,200 shops. That’s a number that over the last few years has been gradually reduced
As well as operating a network of travel agencies, Thomas Cook also runs airlines and tour operators. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has operations in 15 source markets.