Thomson withdraws from Thomas Cook

Tour operator Thomson is boycotting one of the UK’s biggest travel agents, Thomas Cook, following a row over its sales agreement with the retailer.

Market leader Thomson has refused to sell holidays through Thomas Cook’s 385 branches since 12pm last Friday, claiming that the agency has “broken its agreement”.

The move follows the news at the beginning of this month that Thomson was considering legal action against Thomas Cook after the travel agent sent a memo to its outlets. The memo is understood to have listed Thomson exclusive holidays alongside alternative operators. It instructed staff to offer the alternatives to customers asking for Thomson holidays.

Thomson also claims Thomas Cook has unfairly discriminated against its product by discounting more on other operator’s holidays.

Thomas Cook commercial director Andrew Windsor says that the company felt Thomson’s deadline of last Friday to resolve the situation was unrealistic. “It is expecting us to sell products at a loss during our peak booking periods and we are not prepared to do that.”

Thomson sales constitute bet-ween ten and 15 per cent of Thomas Cook’s business. Thomson has a policy of paying ten per cent commission across the board to travel agents. Thomas Cook, along with other retailers, has been offering discounts on holidays of up to 15 per cent, excluding Thomson holidays.

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