On the Beach shares fall 13% amid cost of living woe

Shares of Manchester-based online holiday retailer On the Beach Group plc (OTB) fell about 13% on Tuesday after its CEO said the firm believes it is “yet to see the full impact of the escalating costs of living on bookings.”

The warning came despite On The Beach reporting its revenue increased to £52.9 million in the six months to March 31, 2022, compared to £4.4 million for the same period of the prior year “following the widespread relaxation of restrictions for travel from the UK to most European holiday destinations in January 2022.”

The company said in its outlook: “The group continues to remain cautious regarding the consumer environment.

“Visibility of the near term outlook for the UK outbound travel industry is limited and it is currently unclear to what extent the cost of living crisis will impact bookings.”

On the Beach CEO Simon Cooper said: “During the first half of our financial year we have seen a set of unique trading dynamics which were impacted, in part, by the Omicron variant in December and January.

“Prior to Omicron, group booked sales in September and October 2021 exceeded H1 19 levels, being the last full financial year not impacted by COVID, and while group sales were heavily impacted in November and December it was pleasing to see a significant uplift in traffic and booking volumes following the easing of restrictions in the UK and key International destinations during January.

“Throughout the pandemic, we continued with our strategy of investing in our brand, technology and customer proposition.

“Our deliberate focus on capturing share in the Premium, Long Haul and B2B segments, including accessing previously unavailable premium hotel stock, has resulted in us taking market share in this area.

“Whilst we have entered the second half with resilient sales, visibility of the near term outlook for the UK outbound travel industry remains limited.

“Customers are typically booking holidays with shorter lead times and we believe we are yet to see the full impact of the escalating costs of living on bookings.

“Despite this, we remain confident that we have taken the right actions throughout the pandemic and we will continue to support our customers and staff as a priority.

“Our investments in brand and proposition will ensure profitable trading into the second half and has left us in a strong position to continue growing market share.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.