Hays Travel is considering greenfield sites for new stores as well as taking on former Thomas Cook shops.

Hays is “actively engaged” in talks with Thomas Cook over potential shop acquisitions and looking to develop new stores on greenfield sites.

The group admitted it was interested in taking on some of the 195 Thomas Cook and The Co-operative Travel stores earmarked for closure immediately after news of the multiple’s restructure broke.

The group would not reveal how many shops it is interested in or whether they would all be in the north-east where its current 43 Hays Travel shops are based.

But managing director John Hays said: “We are looking to grow so why wouldn’t we look at some Thomas Cook shops? We have a template of what we are looking for but we are a general travel agent.”

Staff would be re-employed where possible at any branches taken over by Hays, he added.

Midcounties Co-op Travel is also currently in talks with Thomas Cook over potential takeovers in and around its current store network.

Hays revealed the miniple is also considering greenfield options for new stores. “In addition to Thomas Cook we are looking at greenfield sites as well. We want to grow but it’s not as if we have plans for 50 new shops.”

Hays said he would also welcome new members joining the Hays Travel Independence Group, which currently has 150 agency members. “We would be happy to handle double that,” he said.

The company has been inundated with enquiries from Cook staff whose jobs are under threat for its homeworking and IG divisions.