6 March 2018: Thomas Cook has today announced a proposal that would see each of its stores have a dedicated Manager in a move to more effectively run its portfolio. This would replace the current Cluster Manager structure and would be rolled out nationally.
It follows an earlier decision where dedicated Managers were placed in stores in six regions; within those regions we have seen an improvement in performance.
The move to dedicated Store Managers reflects the change in Thomas Cook’s retail landscape as there is now a reduced number of stores since Cluster Managers were first introduced in 2013. It is reflective of Thomas Cook’s omni-channel approach to meet the changing needs of its customers both instore and online.
This proposal also comes at a time when Thomas Cook is moving towards a single brand on the high street and the deadline to remove the Co-op brand by November. As part of this process, 113 Co-operative Travel stores have already been rebranded as Thomas Cook, and are seeing increased sales.
While this proposal would see 210 roles put under consultation, it would provide opportunities for Cluster Managers to apply for dedicated Store Manager roles, and enable Assistant Managers and Customers Service Managers who want to develop their careers to also apply for dedicated Store Manager positions.
Thomas Cook has also announced a proposal to close a further 27 stores as part of its ongoing review of its retail network to ensure that they are positioned to best meet customers’ changing demands and behaviour. Should both proposals go ahead Thomas Cook would have a network of 601 stores across the UK & Ireland by the end of May 2018.
The stores proposed to close are mainly Co-op stores that are either in close proximity to other stores in a town, or located where there is a decline in footfall.
Thomas Cook’s UK Director of Retail and Customer Experience, Kathryn Darbandi, said: “Our management team plays a critical role in the success of our stores across the UK and Northern Ireland. By proposing these new roles we would be creating exciting opportunities for both existing and aspiring managers. We are confident that we would retain the expertise of as many of our colleagues as possible.”