Thomas Cook will close 21 stores in the United Kingdom with its efficiency plan, a measure that affects 320 workers

Thomas Cook the closing of 21 of its stores in the United Kingdom, where it employs 320 workers, as part of the program of efficiency and rationalization of its network of points of sale with which it wants to modernize its activity and adapt to the changing behavior of the traveler that each instead make more reservations via the Internet. This reduces its network in the United Kingdom to a total of 566 stores.

The intention of Thomas Cook is to eliminate 218 positions in these points of sale, whose closing will also imply that over 120 employees of customer service, for which will conduct a review of the labor resources of the retailer, the company has detailed in a statement.

For this, the British tour operator has already begun a consultation process with the union representatives of the affected workers. After the announcement, the company’s shares fell 1.36% on the London Stock Exchange.

“Today’s announcement reflects the challenges we face, with more and more customers opting for online reservations,” admitted the group’s tourism division chief of operations, Will Waggott, who has argued that these measures will help Thomas Cook to achieve greater efficiencies throughout Europe. “Looking ahead, we will work to ensure that we can meet the needs of the future, he added.

ADAPTATION TO THE BOOST OF THE RESERVATIONS ‘ONLINE’

Thomas Cook explained that online reservations in the United Kingdom, its main market, already account for 64% of the total made in this market last year and that the growth experienced by this sales channel was faster than any other , with an increase of 30% in 2018. In addition, two out of five tourists who traveled outside the United Kingdom with Thomas Cook used the application to plan their trips.

The British tour operator, immersed in an efficiency program, cut its annual forecasts in November for the third time in a few months and decided to suspend its dividend due to the weak performance of the business. It placed its annual earnings estimates at 250 million pounds sterling (290 million euros), which meant a decrease of 58 million pounds sterling (67.3 million euros) with respect to the previous year.

Thomas Cook then announced a strategic change to his business that will involve the “strategic review” of the group’s air division, Thomas Group Airlines, and focusing its focus on the growth of its hotels.

In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, ended on December 31, it recorded operating losses of 60 million pounds sterling (69.6 million euros), 30.4% more, compared to earnings.