Thomas Cook cashes in on sunseekers as its turnaround plan bears fruit

TRAVEL firm Thomas Cook yesterday assured investors that its turnaround plan was on track after sun-seekers boosted summer bookings.

Holidaymakers snapped up deals to Greece, Spain and Turkey as they went in search of warmer weather, while the group was also able to raise prices by 8 per cent on average in recent weeks.

It confirmed the Olympics gave a marginal lift to profit margins, but was not as successful as initially hoped due to challenging sales of its Olympic and Paralympic packages to corporate customers.

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With demand lower than expected, Thomas Cook said it had instead targeted many of the packages to the consumer market, which meant there were no tickets or deals left over. It said 85,000 fans went to the Olympics and Paralympics through Thomas Cook.

The group said total cumulative UK bookings remained 1 per cent down year-on-year, with a 10 per cent rise in specialist and independent holidays offsetting a 9 per cent fall in the mainstream market.

Despite the decline, the firm noted that there were signs of a financial improvement as recently appointed chief executive Harriet Green leads a top-down review of operations to revive business.

She said: “Working together with the management team, my priority has been to ensure a renewed focus on delivering to our plans for the current financial year, reviewing our approach for the forthcoming year and developing our objectives to grow and strengthen the business for the future.”