Thomas Cook and the Co-op are to merge their travel and foreign exchange businesses into a combined chain of more than 1,200 retail outlets, with Going Places shops being rebranded as Co-operative Travel.
Thomas Cook is planning to close its travel call centre at The Globe in Accrington in September with the loss of up to 260 jobs, in order to transfer the work to offices in Peterborough, Bradford and Brighton.
Thomas Cook is planning to close 150 travel shops and six offices throughout the country with the loss of up to 2,800 jobs, affecting sites in Rochdale, Manchester, Rawtenstall and Denton.
Thomas Cook of Peterborough is to merge with MyTravel of Rochdale to form a combined holidays business with more than 32,000 staff, but this is expected to lead to job losses and the closure of Thomas Cook shops.
Thomas Cook is to conduct a strategic review of its UK tour operating business, prompting speculation that it will seek buyers for Club 18-30, Style villa holidays, Neilson skiing and Sun World.
Thomas Cook has raised £52m from the sale of its 7% stake in First Choice to Spanish hotel group Barcelo, while First Choice has announced the £0.5m acquisition of Taurus Tours, the Swiss package holiday company.
Preussag of Germany is to take control of Thomas Cook, the travel agency and financial services company, by buying a 24.9% stake from Westdeutsche Landesbank now and a further 25.2% next September.
Carlson of the US is said to be discussing the merger of its Inspirations holiday business in the UK with Westdeutsche Landesbank's Thomas Cook group, which would create the UK's largest travel agent.
Thomas Cook is to use its high street travel shops to sell overseas properties built by large developers in Europe and Florida, as part of a diversification strategy intended to replace the foreign exchange income that will be lost with the introduction of the euro.