Thomas Cook Seeks 2,500 Job Cut as Tour Operator Shutters Stores

Thomas Cook Group Plc, the U.K. tour operator, said it plans to cut 2,500 jobs, or 16 percent of the total, in a drive to close stores in towns where it has more than one outlet and eliminate those that are underperforming.

A 90-day consultation period with unions began today as the London-based company, which has a U.K. workforce of 15,500 people, seeks to shutter 195 of its 1,069 sales outlets.

Thomas Cook is midway through a three-year turnaround program and restructuring costs and savings linked to the changes announced today were included in financial guidance previously provided, it said in a statement.

“It is essential that we operate with the right number of people,” said Peter Fankhauser, head of Thomas Cook’s operations in the U.K. and continental Europe, adding that the company “needs to make the proposed changes to secure our future and provide continued employment.”

Thomas Cook rose as much as 2.9 percent and was trading 1.2 percent higher as of 12:34 p.m. in London, valuing the company at 787 million pounds ($1.2 billion).

The stock has surged 80 percent this year after tripling in price in 2012. That’s after a 92 percent decline in 2011, when the 170-year-old company was saved by an emergency loan as borrowings rose after bookings were hurt by a squeeze on consumer spending in the U.K. and unrest in North Africa.

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