Two stalwarts of the travel world have decided to join forces in a bid to dominate the high street and battle a predicted slump in holiday bookings this winter…
Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel have signed a deal to bring together their 1,204 stores across the country, but they will both keep their own branding.
It means branches of Co-operative Travel will be able to sell Thomas Cook products, hopefully reaching a larger audience.
Around £35m of savings will also be made and the united companies will become the UK's second largest foreign currency exchange business.
With cuts biting this winter and consumer confidence low, the deal is an attempt to weather another rocky season in the travel industry.
The merger will mean job losses but the companies hope that by joining forces they will better be able to attract UK travellers.
Experts are predicting that Thomas Cook and fellow giant TUI Travel – which owns Thomson and First Choice – will both be looking to secure further consolidations after a particularly bad year for package holidays.
Both tour operators have predicted that their year-end profits would be below previous expectations due to the volcanic ash cloud crisis and the 'uncertain economic environment'.
Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said: 'Today's announcement, together with our plans to cut costs and streamline the rest of our UK business, will put us in a much stronger position, should market conditions in the UK remain weak, and will build a firm foundation for the future.'
However, some have questioned the future of high street travel agents altogether, particularly as more and more people search for holiday deals online.