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Ipswich's former Thomas Cook branch to 'open as soon as possible'

PUBLISHED: 07:58 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 07:58 25 October 2019

People walk past the Thomas Cook store in Ipswich Town Centre  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

People walk past the Thomas Cook store in Ipswich Town Centre Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Hays Travel has promised to open Ipswich's former Thomas Cook branch "as soon as possible".

Thomas Cook has collapsed  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThomas Cook has collapsed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The UK's largest independent travel agent took control of the branch after acquiring the collapsed firm's entire real estate portfolio earlier this month.

In total Hays Travel purchased 555 Thomas Cook branches for just over £6m - around £11,000 per store.

MORE: 'It has been a pleasure' - Family-run store to close after 33 years

The deal provided job opportunities for up to 2,500 former Thomas Employees.

And while some branches around the UK opened with days of the takeover the Ipswich site, in Tavern Street, remains dormant.

Thomas Cook has collapsed  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThomas Cook has collapsed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

However, a spokesman confirmed the branch would be opening "as soon as possible".

They explained all staff who had been working at the branch at the time of its closure had been offered employment, with some replies yet to be received, and were also awaiting the keys from the landlord.

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"The Ipswich branch will definitely be opened under Hays Travel," the spokesman added.

Thomas Cook in Wilkes Way, Stowmarket town centre, which has closed following the collapse of the company Picture: MARK LANGFORDThomas Cook in Wilkes Way, Stowmarket town centre, which has closed following the collapse of the company Picture: MARK LANGFORD

This positive news is being replicated across the county, as Hays Travel confirmed other Suffolk branches would soon be welcoming customers.

Stowmarket's former Thomas Cook branch, in Wilkes Way, is due to open by the end of the week - employing two members of staff.

While the former Thomas Cook site in Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds, is scheduled to reopen on Monday, November 4 - employing a further eight people who previously worked at the store.

Before taking control of the fallen travel giant's retail estate Hays Travel only operated 190 stores and the deal represents a huge leap for the firm.

Thomas Cook in Wilkes Way, Stowmarket, which has closed following the collapse of the company Picture: MARK LANGFORDThomas Cook in Wilkes Way, Stowmarket, which has closed following the collapse of the company Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Along with Hays Travel the company also runs the Hays Travel Independence Group, a consortium of independent travel agents, and Just Go Travel.

The official receiver and special managers from KPMG were appointed to head up the liquidation of Thomas Cook praised the deal as an important milestone and one which provides stability for the thousands of employees made redundant.

Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG, added: "This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement. It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street.

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