Staff at Ryedale Travel in North Yorkshire have had their jobs safeguarded after the company was bought by Hays Travel.

All 25 agents at Ryedale’s five branches will retain their jobs as part of the deal, which will see all shops rebranded to Hays Travel.

Founded in 1964, Ryedale Travel was jointly owned by managing director Phil Cornelius and several directors who have now retired. It has branches in Ripon, Thirsk, Pocklington, Pickering and Malton.

Jane Schumm, sales general manager at Hays Travel, said: “These agents make up a team of experienced sellers with fantastic product knowledge and old-fashioned values of exceptional customer care.”

The acquisition will boost Hays’ presence outside the northeast and help the company increase its business in the luxury market.

Hays Travel managing director John Hays said: “Ryedale is a strong independent, operating in a high-spend, long-haul, luxury market – the kind of market Hays Travel is keen to grow.”

Hays, who purchased three branches of Bolton-based St Andrews Travel in the northwest last year, revealed that further expansion in the UK was in the pipeline.

“Geographically, this was perfect as it is in the area next to our existing shops. We are steadily expanding. We have been approached by a number of small retailers looking to exit and we evaluate each one seriously.”

He added: “We feel this is a natural progression from our northeast branches and the deal is an example of our faith in the future of the retail market.”

The takeover extends Hays Travel’s network to 42 shops. It also has three call centres and more than 300 homeworkers.