More painful economic news emerged today that will impact the city. Joining the long list of high-street businesses effected by the economic downturn can be added Thomas Cook and Dreams.
Thomas Cook, Preston’s leading travel agents, announced it is to shed around 2,500 staff with 195 stores closing following a drastic restructure of its business.
Jobs will go in administrative and managerial functions affecting offices and shops at its Preston site. The news is a loss of around 15 per cent of the UK workforce, that’s from 15,500 to 13,000.
The latest message from Thomas Cook states that they will ‘Place a number of administrative and managerial roles at risk, at Head Offices in Peterborough and Preston, whilst proposing the closure of its Accrington office.’
Although the staff cuts appear quite severe Thomas Cook will still maintain one of the largest retail networks.
Many of the stores being closed are Co-operative Travel stores after Thomas Cook and Co-op merged their high street businesses in 2011.
In an announcement Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook UK & Ireland said: “It is never easy to make decisions that impact directly on our people, but we also owe it to our customers to shape the business effectively and ensure that, when they book their holiday with us, our administrative costs are as low as possible. As we improve and develop our online capabilities, maintaining a strong presence on the High Street is an important part of our omni-channel strategy. Even after these changes we will still have one of the largest retail networks in UK travel.
It is essential that we operate with the right number of people as we move forward into the next era for our company, allowing us to meet the future needs of our customers more effectively. These proposals will mean a stronger Thomas Cook that continues to be a major employer in the UK dedicated to providing excellent holiday experiences to our 23 million customers. We are in consultation with our Unions and employee representative bodies to minimise the impact of these changes and I am speaking personally to all employees today to provide information and support through this period of consultation.”
As if that was not enough, staff at bed firm Dreams, the UK’s leading bed specialist, have been given nightmares by the news that they could lose their jobs as a rescue deal to save the bust business will not save all its stores. SCS Upholstery, the sofa chain shop has agreed to buy some but not all of the stores leaving about 500 staff uncertain of the future.
Dreams has an outlet on North Road Retail Park, Broomfield Mill Street in Preston.