Travel Giant Warns of Retail Cuts After Softer Demand Because of Brexit Uncertainty

Thomas Cook has warned of further cuts, especially in retail, to the business in the second half of the current year after the company suffered a drop in winter half-year losses to £1.45 billion

The travel group’s Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said there was softer demand in the UK due to uncertainty over Brexit.

An impairment of more than £1 billion in the UK business relating to the merger with MyTravel in 2007 was also given as a primary reason for the losses.

The Thomas Cook chief said: “A range of cost efficiencies are planned for the second half of the year.
We need to sharpen our focus on being efficient especially in retail stores.

“We are following our customer behaviour and the more (consumers) are following into digital, the more we have to follow this trend. We review our retail network constantly and if a store is falling below profitability we are closing those shops.

“We are reviewing and streamlining our operations. If you are closing shops you have to adapt your head office as well,” he said. Earlier this week Cook announced 100 jobs were under consultation in its head office in Peterborough.

Peter Fankhauser added that customers were “having a great deal” with so many holidays being discounted. “This summer, for the customer, it is paradise”, he said.

“We have very good demand for cities in the US and seen a new trend for short breaks to long-haul destinations.”
Fankhauser said a key focus for the company was its hotel business.”

Cook has opened 12 of 20 new hotels this year in the last eight weeks. It is targeting 250 by 2021.