All 555 Thomas Cook shops are to be bought by rival Hays Travel in a move that could save up to 2,500 jobs.
The independent travel agent is buying the shops from the Official Receiver which was appointed when Thomas Cook collapsed last month.
Hays has already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook staff and the deal is expected to save thousands more jobs.
Sunderland-based Hays said it planned to reopen all the shops with immediate effect.
Irene Hays, chair of Sunderland-based Hays, said: “Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand and a pillar of the UK and the global travel industry.
“We will build on the good things Thomas Cook had – not least its people – and that will put us in even better stead for the future”.
More than 100 new jobs will be based at the company’s Sunderland headquarters, with the rest in shops across the UK.
The move is a significant expansion for Hays, which currently has 190 shops across the UK.
John Hays, who built the company over 40 years, said: “It is a game-changer for us, almost trebling the number of shops we have and doubling our workforce – and for the industry, which will get to keep some of its most talented people. Our staff were devastated to hear about Thomas Cook and we all immediately felt we wanted to help.”
David Chapman, the Official Receiver, described the sale as an “important step” in unravelling the the 178-year-old chain.