Thomas Cook has begun a 90-day consultation with more than 100 staff after announcing plans to close 24 high street shops around the country.


The company said 22 of the closures were because of leases expiring and two because shops were making a loss. Outlets are to close in towns as far apart as Northampton, Bangor, Cleethorpes and Stirling.


Ian Ailles, Thomas Cook UK mainstream chief executive, said the firm’s shop network was constantly under review. 


“Our high street stores are the most popular way for customers to book with us and an essential part of our multi-channel approach, alongside websites and sales centres,” he said.


“However, there are times, like today, when we will propose closing a small number of individual stores to remain effective in this competitive environment. 


“We will do all that we can to minimise the impact on affected customers and colleagues.”


The staff consultation is one of three under way at the company. The group is in a formal consultation with Thomas Cook Airlines staff in Manchester where it plans 250 job cuts as it axes six aircraft from the UK fleet for this winter.


Thomas Cook is also consulting 400 call centre staff who handle holiday bookings in Peterborough and Falkirk on shift changes. The company wants call centre employees to work later, taking calls up to 10pm, and on Sundays.


The shop closures come ahead of a loss of about 75 outlets expected to result from the joint-venture merger with The Co-op and Midlands Co-op Travel.