Australia’s largest travel retailer, Flight Centre, says consumer confidence has declined over the past couple of months – “Leisure customers are cautious and deal focused” – while announcing a record first half pre-tax profit of $101 million for the six months to December 31, a whopping 37% rise over the previous year. But high growth rates are in the past and Flight Centre is sticking to earlier forecasts of a full year pre-tax profit between $220m and $240m (the second quarter is typically the most profitable). Australia was the strongest performer while China made its first pre-tax profit since the business was established in 2004. The United States performed poorly once again – down 12% in $US terms – but Flight Centre is hopeful this business will be in the black by year end.
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