Some of those companies had complained that the process was dragging on but it seems a bigger deal was being negotiated for the entire retail network.
David Chapman, official receiver, said: “I am pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with Hays Travel to acquire Thomas Cook’s entire UK retail estate, comprising 555 stores across the country. This represents an important step in the liquidation process, as we seek to realise the company’s assets.”
Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG and joint special manager of Thomas Cook’s Retail division, said: “This is an extremely positive outcome, and we are delighted to have secured this agreement. It provides re-employment opportunities for a significant number of former Thomas Cook employees, and secures the future of retail sites up and down the UK high street. We are pleased to have achieved this in a short time frame and in the context of a complex liquidation process, which is testament to a lot of hard work from a number of parties.
“Over the weeks ahead, we will work closely with Hays Travel and landlords to ensure a smooth transition of the store estate.”
The Insolvency Service said it was not, at this stage, revealing the price paid by Hays for Thomas Cook’s retail estate. The purchase doesn’t include the Thomas Cook name. A spokesman said other buyers were being sought for the brand.