Thomas Cook has announced plans to close 21 stores and cut back its retail workforce, with the loss of 320 jobs in total.
The travel giant said the closures are part of plans to streamline its UK retail network as part of an efficiency programme and to address changing customer behaviour.
A consultation process with the affected staff and unions has begun. The store closures will cut the group’s chain of shops to 566.
Thomas Cook’s chief of tour operating, Will Waggott, said: “Today’s announcement reflects the wider challenges seen on the high street, with more and more customers choosing to book online.
“These measures will help us to drive greater efficiencies across Thomas Cook so that we relentlessly focus our resources in those areas that give us the greatest opportunity to make a difference to customers in our core holiday offering.
“Looking ahead, we will be working to ensure that Thomas Cook is fit for the future; putting a rigorous focus on costs in a competitive environment while giving customers more reasons to holiday with the strongest brand in travel.”
Shares in the travel group have plunged in recent months as it issued a second profit warning and axed its dividend, blaming a disappointing year on the prolonged summer heatwave across Europe.
The stores listed for closure
Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne
West Bromwich Sandwell Centre, West Midlands
Llandudno, north Wales
Sunderland Sainsbury’s, Tyne and Wear
North Shields, Tyne and Wear
Peterlee, County Durham
Market Harborough, 23 St Mary’s Place, Leicestershire
Bury Haymarket, Lancashire
Aberdeen Langstane, Aberdeen
Shipley, West Yorkshire
Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire
Glenrothes, 52 Unicorn Way, Fife
Colchester High Street, Essex
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
Kirkintilloch Cowgate, Glasgow