Four city travel agencies are facing the axe

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FOUR travel agencies in Sheffield are facing closure after a holiday business announced plans to close branches across the country.

Thomas Cook, which recently merged with Co-op Travel after posting losses of nearly £400 million, plans to shut 115 shops nationwide as part of a plan to turn the business around.

More than 660 staff at the affected outlets are being told their jobs are at risk.

Shops in Sheffield which face the axe are the Thomas Cook branches in Woodseats and on Pinstone Street in the city centre, as well as Co-op travel agencies in Hillsborough Barracks and Chapeltown.

The Thomas Cook branch on Doncaster High Street is also among the affected shops.

The proposals are subject to a 90-day consultation period, and no closures or redundancies are expected before March 17 next year.

Thomas Cook chief executive Sam Weihagen said the company has had ‘a very challenging year’ but added: “There will always be a need for shops. You can always discuss how many.”

Sharon Ainsworth, national officer for retail union Usdaw, said: “There’s never a good time to be told your job is at risk but to hear just before Christmas is particularly devastating for everyone affected.”

The branches were selected on the basis of lease expiry dates, financial performance, proximity to other stores and customer profiles.

Thomas Cook’s turnaround plan aims to boost annual profits by £110 million.