Cook up 8% for summer 2012

Thomas Cook’s campaign to bolster UK sales following the shock announcement of the need to extend its loan facilities has borne fruit, the company said yesterday.

The group reported bookings for summer 2012 8% ahead of last year and said: “We’ve been pleased with the reaction of customers and suppliers.”

However, Thomas Cook revealed it has cut UK capacity for next summer by 8% compared with this year.

The company launched a campaign to reassure UK consumers after securing a £200-million extension of its credit facilities in late November, offering a substantial discount on full-price packages bought direct.

In a statement yesterday, the company said: “The reaction of UK customers to our recent promotion has been encouraging and summer bookings for the UK are 8% ahead of the previous year.”

Thomas Cook interim chief executive Sam Weihagen said: “We saw UK sales slip immediately after the announcement, but they have now largely recovered.” Cook revealed average selling prices for next summer up 5% year-on-year with almost one quarter of the programme sold.

The group has also cut capacity in the UK for this winter by 8%, but sales were 11% down year-on-year to December 11. Average selling prices for the winter were also down on a year ago by 1%, meaning a sharp shortfall against inflation close to 5%.

Cook said capacity would be reduced further if necessary. It reported summer 2011 sales in the UK flat year-on-year in line with capacity, but with a 4% increase in average price.

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