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UK travel agent Hays picks up Thomas Cook outlets

Collapsed leisure firm Thomas Cook Group's UK retail operations have been acquired by Hays Travel, which claims to be the country's largest independent travel agent.

Hays will take over 555 outlets, the entire retail estate component, according to the UK's Insolvency Service.

It has recruited 421 personnel from Thomas Cook and the service states that "further offers" to former employees of the company are being extended.

Thomas Cook Group's expansion of retail outlets, through a 2011 joint venture, had been an ambitious strategy but one which subsequently appeared unwise.

This expansion increased its retail outlets from 780 to around 1,200 but within five or six years it had closed nearly half of them.

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