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Thomas Cook's winter bookings hit by Egyptian unrest

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Winter bookings at Thomas Cook (LON:TCG) have been merely “satisfactory”, but the travel firm has been encouraged by increased summer bookings.

The group has seen an improvement in the summer bookings trend since it released its first quarter results back in February, with around half of the holidays in its summer 2014 schedule now sold, which is a slightly higher level of bookings than at the same time last year.

“Compared with last year, margins are expected to improve more than average selling prices, reflecting enhanced yield management and the benefits of our cost-out and profit improvement programme, which is delivering ahead of schedule,” revealed Harriet Green, the group’s chief executive officer.

Reading between the lines, bookings for winter breaks have not been as sparkling, though the group noted that continued unrest in Egypt – a popular holiday destination – is causing market disruption. With not much of the winter season left now, Thomas Cook said it had sold 93% of its offerings, in line with the previous year’s performance.

“Bookings at our higher margin concept hotels are up 49% compared with the same time last year and our hotel development programme remains well on track. We also continue to make significant progress transforming Thomas Cook, further professionalising our business and delivering additional cost out and profit improvement benefits,” the company’s statement said.

Green’s quest to prune the rag-bag collection of brands the group has accumulated over the years was completed 18 months ahead of schedule, Green declared.

Shares were down 1.4% at 178.8p in the first hour of trading.

Quick facts: Thomas Cook Group

Price: 3.451 GBX

LSE:TCG
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £56.64 m
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