STAFF at the town's former Thomas Cook stores are delighted to be back after the shops have reopened as Hays Travel outlets.

Independent travel agent Hays Travel said earlier this month it would buy all 555 Thomas Cook stores in the country after the holiday company collapsed in late September.

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Hays already had one shop in St Helens at Church square which launched in 2018.

Thomas Cook had two branches in St Helens, one on Church Street and another on Bridge Street with both part of the Church Shopping Centre.

The Bridge Street shop reopened on Saturday, October 19 while the Church Street premises relaunched today (Monday).

Donna Devine, manager at the Church Street shop, said they have had warm messages of support from customers.

She added that while they are awaiting for the shop to be kitted out and fully operational, they are delighted to be back.

"It's a weird feeling, I didn't think for one day that we'd be sitting back here," said Donna.

"We are a bit in limbo at the moment but we are meeting and greeting customers and if people want to come in and say hello they can.

"I'm glad we are back, especially for Christmas, that's the biggest thing about not getting paid.

"We have had some customers come in and say how happy they are to see us, that's good.

"Everyone has been very understanding."

Steve Brogan, centre manager of Church Square Shopping Centre, added: “We are absolutely delighted that Hays Travel have occupied the Thomas Cook units.

"It was unfortunate to hear the news a few weeks back but it is so heartwarming to now know that the ex-employees will now be back on their feet.”

After the reopening had been announced, staff at the Church Street had said: "We are thrilled to announce that the ex Thomas Cook in Church Street, St Helens will be opening as Hays Travel on Monday, October 21, 2019.

"The excellent service and some familiar faces are also back with the added bonus, that now we are part of the Hays Family. We can sell a lot more tour operators including Jet2.

"We cannot wait to welcome our customers old and new. So when you’re passing, please pop in. We can discuss your next dream holiday or just say hi and have a catch up with you and your family."