Hays Travel has opened seven former Thomas Cook stores, which are being staffed by the original employees.

The re-opened agencies are in the northeast – in Redcar, Alnwick, Morpeth, Teesside Park, MetroCentre Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Yesterday, Sunderland-based Hays Travel revealed it had taken on all of the 555 Thomas Cook shops which closed when the travel giant collapsed on September 23.

A statement today (October 10) from Hays Travel said: “We are delighted to say that we already have some former Thomas Cook stores open with their original staff in place, and customers are popping in to welcome them back while we get trading up and running.

“We are re-opening all of 555 Thomas Cook shops as soon as possible and we are employing Thomas Cook people as fast as we can – 769 have been recruited and 180 made an offer up to last night.

“Our intention is to keep all the stores trading by making all of them profitable in their own right.

“The vast majority already are profitable and with some of the Hays Travel business approach and ethos, supported by our brilliant people, we are in good stead.”

Hays Travel is acquiring all the shop leases but confirmed the agencies will trade under the Hays name as the Thomas Cook brand is not included in the deal.

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