Embattled travel group Thomas Cook released encouraging Q4 results today, suggesting the turnaround plan drawn up by chief executive Harriet Green could be paying off.
While the three months to the end of December showed that gross profit was down slightly to £377 million from £391 million in the same period the previous year, operating expenses were down from £482 million to just £446.8 million.
Overall, the group’s loss before tax was down from £151.7 million for Q4 in 2011 to £127.9 million for the last three months of 2012.
Harriet Green, chief executive of Thomas Cook Group, said there are now clear priorities for strengthening the business and addressing the cost and cash management issues.
She explained: “The business has generated higher grow margins than we did last year and this will remain an area of focus for us through the financial year.
“Our cost-out initiatives and improved cash management will be important contributing factors to the group’s future performance and continue to receive strong focus in all parts of the business.
“Although global economic conditions and consumer confidence remain challenged, our business transformation is firmly on track and we look forward to providing a full update on our strategy and additional financial performance metrics in the spring.”
The company results for the quarter also show the UK and continental Europe operations outperformed the previous year. In the UK, the underlying gross margin percentage increased by 1.2%, despite fuel price rises.
The group’s German airline business saw margins increase by 11% as a result of improved yields and growth in its long-haul operations.