All 555 Thomas Cook shops are to be bought by rival Hays Travel in a move that could save up to 2,500 jobs.

The independent travel agent is buying the shops from the Official Receiver which was appointed when Thomas Cook collapsed last month.

Hays has already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook staff and the deal is expected to save thousands more jobs.

Sunderland-based Hays said it planned to reopen all the shops with immediate effect.

Irene Hays, chair of Sunderland-based Hays, said: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry.

“We will build on the good things Thomas Cook had – not least its people – and that will put us in even better stead for the future”.

‘Game-changer’

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