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Omnichannel strategy helps Thomas Cook post a rise in underlying profits

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An omnichannel strategy with digital at its heart has helped Thomas Cook to lift underlying profits for the eighth successive quarter, the company said today.

The holiday company said in an interim management statement today that each of its businesses grew during the third quarter of its financial year, with underlying earnings before interest and tax rising by £32m to £33m, and £27m in the UK alone. But at the bottom line the company was still in the red, with losses of £43m, widening from £30m a year ago. Revenues of £2.2bn in the three months to June 30 were down on revenues of £2.3bn at the same time last year.

“Twenty-four months into our transformation, we are confident that our deliberate actions to improve operating efficiency and yield management, digitise our business and develop new exclusive products that build on the strength and trust that our brand represents, will significantly improve Thomas Cook’s profitability and growth trajectory,” said chief executive Harriet Green.

The company said online customer experience had improved as a result of its new UK website, boosting online and mobile booking as a result. The website is expected to result in a higher proportion of bookings being made online as it is expanded to more markets: in the year to date 38% of bookings were made through the website, while the company’s target is more than 50% in the 2015 full year.

Thomas Cook also pointed to technological innovations in its stores, including its Bluewater concept store where customers can use a new advice bar app to find the holidays they want, add them to a wishlist to discuss with a consultant in store or to be emailed to the customer to consider at home.

John Straw, chairman of Thomas Cook’s digital advisory board, and Robin Colman, group head of innovation at Thomas Cook will be speaking at Internet Retailing Conference 2014 on October 14. Their closing keynote in the Tide stream, The Considered Journey, is at 4.30pm. Find out more here.

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