Flight Centre Shares Are Getting Smashed As Slowing Holiday Travel Bookings Hit Profit Outlook

Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images.

Flight Centre shares are down more than 10% after the travel agent downgraded its profit expectations following a fall in Australian holiday bookings.

The UK and US businesses are on track for record results this financial year but Australia saw lower than normal bookings in the five months to the end of November.

The company now believes underlying profit for 2014/15 will be between $360 million and $390 million, or between $15 million and $35 million smaller than previously forecast.

The top of this range represents 4% growth on the record $376.5 million result for the 2013/14 year.

“While we expect solid contributions from our overseas businesses – which in profit terms have consistently grown at 20%-30% per annum in recent years – the growth outlook for the larger Australian business is currently unclear,” managing director Graham Turner said.

“This means it is difficult to provide more specific guidance at this relatively early stage of the year.

“When we set our full year growth targets in August, we expected the uncertainty surrounding Australia’s Federal Budget would have abated as the first half drew to a close and consumer confidence and spending would have started to rebound.

“Unfortunately, we are yet to see tangible signs of a full recovery and the overall leisure travel market in Australia continues to be flat year-on-year.”

Holiday travel sales are significantly lower but the Australian corporate travel market has been relatively stable.

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