Holiday company in Weston to close one branch
By Carol_Deacon | Thursday, March 14, 2013, 10:32
Travel agents Thomas Cook is looking to close one of its three Weston-super-Mare branches.
The holiday company has three branches in the Weston area, two in the HIgh Street and one at Sainsbury's at Worle.
It is the branch at 83 High Street which employs four staff which is under threat of closure.
Another North Somerset branch at Nailsea is not to close.
The announcement comes after the group revealed it was looking to axe 2,500 jobs and close 195 stores nationally.
Thomas Cook Co-operative retail network managing director Joanna Wild said: "As a large retailer we regularly review our network to make sure we have the right stores in the right places for our customers and regrettably there are occasions where we need to close certain branches.
"Following careful consideration, we have announced that one of the Weston-super-Mare Thomas Cook stores on the high street is proposed to close and we are working with those colleagues who are affected.
"We'd like to thank both our colleagues and customers for the commitment and understanding during this process.
"Our high street stores are a popular way for customers to book with us and are an essential part of our multi-channel approach alongside our websites and sales centres."
The company, founded in Leicester in 1841, merged with Co-operative Group and Midlands Co-operative Society's travel businesses in 2010.
It said 119 Co-op stores and 76 Thomas Cook sites would shut under the proposals.
The group has begun a 90-day consultation with affected staff.
The group, which currently employs 15,500 people and operates 1,069 branches in the UK, said the job cuts would include administrative and managerial roles at its head office in Peterborough.
Bosses said the move was part of a three-year plan to turn around the business, which in the past 18 months has been hit hard by the recession, changing consumer habits and the political unrest in North Africa.
Thomas Cook previously closed 200 branches in 2011 after suffering heavy financial losses which led to the resignation of long-standing chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa. He was replaced by Harriet Green.
The business was founded in 1841 by package holiday pioneer Thomas Cook, when he organised a train journey from Leicester to Loughborough to attend a temperance meeting.
Letting agent Ian Thompson, of Thompson Commercial, said the Nailsea branch of Thomas Cook has become more commerically viable since rival company Going Places closed in 2012.
Crown Glass Shopping Centre has a total of 90,000 sq ft of retail space divided into 40 separate shops, a further 40,000 sq ft of office space in various buildings and 40 flats.
Mr Thompson said although it has a mix of vacant shops and offices two firms were busy completing the legal paperwork and several existing tenants had showed interest in expanding.
He added: "I suspect with the closure of Going Places last year, it will have picked up business which may help protect it but it's a tough old world out there."