Thomas Cook has announced that bookings for its summer holiday package deals have dropped by nearly a third for the two weeks ending 13 January. Although some analysts believe that this is the result of a lack of consumer confidence because of last year’s profit warnings and refinancing, the tour operator is saying that the fall in bookings was not totally unexpected.
The beginning of January is an important period for firms providing summer holiday packages. However, Thomas Cook said that it was currently concentrating on growing margins on those deals rather than capacity in an effort to cut its operating costs.
The firm has issued a statement in which it points out that its last bookings results were reported on 14 December when they were actually ahead of the market. The statement continues to say that because of the weakness in consumer sentiment at the time the plan was to reduce future capacity by around eight per cent.
The tour operator was also keen to point out that the UK bookings figures were not reflected by the company’s specialist arms or overseas operations.
Thomas Cook saw its shares dive by 75 per cent last year after a number of profits warnings, the departure of its chief executive officer and an announcement that it would be seeking £200 million in refinancing. The company said that sales had been hit by the political and social unrest in North Africa and natural disasters including the floods in Thailand.