Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Could Thomas Cook be another high street casualty?

Shares in Thomas Cook continue to plummet this morning as the travel operator announced that a further deterioration in trading was forcing it to renegotiate the terms of its £1bn net debt burden for the second time in a month.

Another sign of the times on the high street then as traders lopped 70 per cent of its price this morning.

The group has already issued three profit warnings this year and has seen various senior managers leave the business including its chief executive

The compnay is blaming its troubles in the eurozone area and a slower than expected recovery in tourism in the Middle East and north Africa as well as the recent severe flooding in Thailand which has dissuaded people from booking Asian holidays.

It has also found it difficult to pass on increased costs in a tight market.

The company announced yesterday that it was closing of 75 shops following its merger with Co-operative Travel but is set to add another 125 this week when it announces a huge restructuring of its UK operations.

According to the World Travel Market 2011 Industry Report, almost four in ten consumers did not go on holiday in 2011.

The report, which was issued in November, shows that a holiday is no longer seen as a necessity by cash-strapped consumers in the UK.

As for the present Finance Director Paul Hollingworth said the group was looking to borrow around 100 million pounds to tide it over during December, when trading is traditionally quiet, and give it sufficient headroom to be in no danger of breaching banking covenants.

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