On the Beach first-half revenue falls 79%

Manchester-based online holiday retailer On the Beach Group plc (OTB) said on Tuesday its first-half revenue fell 79% to £4.4 million “due to suppressed consumer demand for booking holidays” in the six months to March 31.

The company said it continues to adjust for Covid-19 related cancellations and that “after making an adjustment to add back the impact of cancellations” first-half adjusted revenue was £12 million, down from £52.8 million in the same period of 2020.

Loss before tax for the six months was £21.6 million, with adjusted loss before tax at £9.5 million, down £11.8 million on the prior year “impacted by the reduction in revenue.”

On the Beach CEO Simon Cooper said: “The group has experienced continued disruption through the first half and this has remained as we head into the summer.

“As announced on 12 May 2021, the board took the decision to extend the group’s off-sale period from 30 June to 31 August 2021.

“Given the recent change in status of Portugal from Green to Amber, the Board is pleased to have taken this decision early, so as to avoid customers suffering yet more turmoil and disappointment.

“On the Beach has long championed the rights of both its customers and wider holiday consumers and the board was pleased to see that The Competition and Markets Authority has opened cases to investigate whether certain airlines have broken consumer law, by failing to offer refunds for flights customers could not legally take, thereby leaving people unfairly out of pocket.

“It is pleasing to see increased regulatory scrutiny on the travel sector and I would like to see this taken one step further with other travel companies establishing Trust Accounts, similar to ours, so that all customer monies are ringfenced and can be immediately returned should their holiday be cancelled.

“All of this will help to ensure consumers are fairly treated while also restoring confidence at a time when it is needed most.

“The board believes that On the Beach is well-positioned to grow market share as demand for holidays recovers.

“Whilst this recovery is likely to take some time and the consumer environment will continue to be challenging, the differentiating features of our business model, combined with the actions taken during the pandemic, position us very strongly for successful and sustained growth as we move out of this extended period of disruption.”