Thomas Cook Sees U.K. as Driver as European Sales Remain ToughKari Lundgren
Thomas Cook Group Plc said it’s counting on demand from the U.K. to sustain its business as sales in continental Europe and Scandinavia continue to be tough.
Europe’s second-largest tour operator had a loss from operations for the three months through December of 73 million pounds ($83 million), compared with a loss of 122 million pounds a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
“We have some headwinds in some of the markets. We are relying on a very strong U.K.,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Fankhauser said on a conference call with journalists. “This is critical for us that we have a really strong home base and home market and there we have big potential.”
Fankhauser took over in a surprise management shake-up in November from Harriet Green, who sought to improve margins by closing underperforming stores, cutting costs and selling peripheral assets. Thomas Cook’s strategy has not changed since Green’s departure, though the focus of the 173-year-old travel brand is more on execution, Fankhauser said today.
Thomas Cook fell 7.7 pence, or 5.8 percent, to 125.5 pence in London, the most since the announcement of Green’s departure on Nov. 26. The stock has retreated 31 percent in the past twelve months, valuing the company at 1.85 billion pounds.