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Looking up: Flight Centre tops $1 billion benchmark as travel bug returns

Business

Flight Centre’s total transaction value for the March quarter was back above $1 billion for the first time in the post-COVID era as Super Retail Group also revealed its BCF sales were still booming as Australians looked for local holidays.

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In a presentation to a conference, Flight Centre chief executive Graham Turner and chief financial officer Adam Campbell said there had been record COVID-period sales in March after January and February were subdued.

The March turnover was more than $100 million higher than February and the company anticipates April to be even better. The gross total transaction value – which represents the price at which travel products are sold by the company for airlines and travel agents –  was back above $1 billion.

Its US-based Liberty Leisure travel business was profitable in March and April and US corporate business was recovering strongly and was now opting to use Canadian staff to cope with demand in the US.

Leisure travel elsewhere was tracking below corporate travel levels, but there had been “significant uplift” in international travel where bubbles had been established.

The end of JobKeeper meant the loss of between $5 million and $7 million a month but Flight Centre said this was likely to be recouped if State governments kept the borders open.

The company was continuing to track towards profitability in 2022 and expected its second half losses this year to be in line with the first half of $234 million.

Its corporate business was tracking at 29 per cent of the historic TTV and it claimed most companies are have started to travel “when they can” .

The Super Retail Group said like-for-like sales for the first 44 weeks of the financial year were up 28 per cent. Its BCF stores were booming with sales up 59 per cent on 2020 and 49 per cent on 2019, indicating that Australians were using outdoor pursuits in the absence of overseas travel.

Super Cheap Auto sales were up 21 per cent and 22 per cent on the two previous years while Revel grew 20 per cent and 19 per cent.

Managing director Anthony Heraghty said that the continued strength in sales meant it had scaled back promotional activities and this had led to gross margin improvement.

Super Retail shares jumped 5 per cent this morning while Flight Centre shares were down slightly.

 

 

 

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