Hays Travel to close 89 stores as Covid-19 continues to cripple holiday industry
Coronavirus has forced 89 Hays Travel shops to close as the pandemic's devastating impact on the travel industry continues to play out.
As a result of closing stores, the holiday firm based in Sunderland said up to 388 jobs are at risk as employees go under consultation.
The company has said it will try to find affected staff alternative work, Chronicle Live reports.
After snapping up around 550 shops from Thomas Cook in October 2019, Hays Travel had always been planning a review of its retail portfolio, but held off to see if business returned this year.
The UK's third lockdown and tougher travel ban forced the firm's hand as yet more holidays and flights were cancelled.
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Jonathon Woodall, chief operating officer, said the company would begin consulting with 388 retail staff on potential options to reduce the number of redundancies.
He said: “Our first priority is to continue to look after our customers and we offer the highest standards of customer service through our retail, phone and online divisions.
“We are continuing with our robust two-year business plan and continue to be ready for the bounce back when it comes.”
Dame Irene Hays, owner and chair of Hays Travel, said: “It was always our intention to review the performance of our shops at the end of the licence period – we had hoped the business would bounce back in January and it has not.
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“We have done everything we could to safeguard jobs and the business thus far, and we have come up with a range of options for those at risk of redundancy to help as many colleagues as we can.”
Among other options, staff will be offered the chance to join the Hays Travel Homeworking Division, to work from home, or take positions in other shops where there is a vacancy.
Last September the company launched a consultation on 878 redundancies in its Foreign Exchange and Travel Academy.
Following the consultation 261 permanent and temporary jobs were saved. It said ultimately there were 451 redundancies, with the remainder moving on to other opportunities.
During the lockdown, many staff are currently working from home, taking bookings for holidays for 2021 and beyond, offering the Hays Travel Peace of Mind Guarantee which allows customers to cancel or rebook for any reason up to six weeks before departure.
The company was launched more than 40 years ago by John Hays, who died last year, and his wife Irene.
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