Peterborough's Thomas Cook blames long, hot summer as it warns of 15 per cent profits plunge

Peterborough-based travel operator Thomas Cook today issued a profits warning blaming the hot summer for a drop in bookings.

Monday, 24th September 2018, 9:51 am
Updated Monday, 24th September 2018, 10:58 am
Thomas Cook has blamed the long summer for an expected fall in profits.

Thomas Cook, which employs more than 1,000 people at Westpoint, in Lynch Wood, has said it expects underlying operating profits for the year to come in at £280 million instead of the £323 million it had originally forecast.

The holiday giant has blamed the long hot summer across northern Europe for customers choosing to put off booking their holidays abroad and opting to enjoy the weather at home.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: "Summer 2018 has been marked by a prolonged period of hot weather across Europe.

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Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook.

"This meant many customers spent June and July enjoying the sunshine at home and put off booking their holidays abroad, leading to even tougher competition and higher than usual levels of discounting in the 'lates' market of August and September.

He added: "Our recent trading performance is clearly disappointing.

"However, despite the recent challenges, we continue to make good strategic progress which positions us well to drive further performance improvement; this includes the launch of our Expedia alliance in the UK and Scandinavia, signing our first own-brand hotel in China and lining up a pipeline of 10 new Cook's Clubs in some of our key destinations for Summer 2019."

In a trading update, the company warned: "The impact of the hot summer is continuing to be felt into Winter trading.

"However, despite recent challenges, we continue to make good strategic progress which positions us well to return to profitable growth."