The Belgian branch of Thomas Cook Retail, which filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago, is partly starting over again under the umbrella of the Spanish travel agency, Wamos. As a result of the takeover, 195 employees were able to return to work.
Out of a total of 91 Neckermann stores in Belgium, Wamos is acquiring 62 stores located throughout the country. A number of smaller business units were also acquired, such as the incentive department (which organises group trips for companies and organisations), the cruise department, e-commerce, and the media department. As a result of the takeover, a total of 195 jobs will be saved, 150 of which are based in shops. The tour operator employed about 500 people.
The trade unions are not dissatisfied with the result that has been achieved. "That some 195 staff members can continue in work, is better than I expected", says Els De Coster of ACLVB (General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium) to HLN. "In addition, part of the tour operator’s activities will be relaunched. I didn’t expect that either." She also welcomes the fact that the takeover will be carried out by a colleague active in the same sector, meaning that Thomas Cook Belgium will not, therefore, fall into the hands of an investment company.
Wamos Group is based in Madrid and consists of the airline company Wamos Air, tour operator Wamos Tours, the travel agency Wamos Circuitos and tourist retailers Nautalia Viajes, Top Atlántico and Geo Star. In Spain and Portugal, the group employs some 2,100 people..
It is not yet clear whether the Neckermann and Thomas Cook brands will continue to exist. The former management team at Thomas Cook Retail will play an important role in the new company, which will be called 'Wamos Benelux'.