European travel and retail spending up with positive first half results
Holiday operator Thomas Cook reported a smaller first-half loss and said a cost-saving project was ahead of target, giving it confidence in its plan to become a more profitable business in the coming years.
For the six months to March 31 Thomas Cook reported an operating loss of £187m, a 6pc improvement on the same period last year, and broadly in line with forecasts of £183m and £188m from analysts at Jefferies and Morgan Stanley respectively.
Like most European tour operators and airlines, Thomas Cook generally reports a loss in the traditionally weaker first part of the year and makes the bulk of its profits in the summer months when its customer base tend to take more holidays.
Thomas Cook, Europe's second biggest tour operator by revenues which is currently in turnaround mode, said additional savings helped it to raise a 2015 profit improvement target by £20m to £460m.
Meanwhile, fashion retailer French Connection Group Plc reported a 9.1pc rise in underlying like-for-like retail sales in the 15 weeks to May 10 as improved styles and better clothing ranges attracted more shoppers.
The London-based company, which has been trying to turn itself around after three profit warnings in two years, said order book for autumn/winter 2014 collection is ahead of this time last year.
French Connection, which has about 131 outlets in the UK/Europe, closed two non-contributing stores in the period.