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On the Beach reports ‘suppressed trading’ after suspending holiday sales

·2 min read

Travel retailer On The Beach said it saw “suppressed trading” in the last six months of its financial year as Covid pandemic continued to weigh on the sector.

The company only started selling holidays again at the start of September after deciding it was better to withdraw its products from sale during the summer.

It took the decision after the Government announced its traffic light system for travel in May, which categorised most countries as amber.

On The Beach’s bosses decided that having to cancel or rearrange trips might severely harm relationships with its customers, so they suspended sales instead.

“As a result of the above, the group, along with the whole travel industry, experienced suppressed trading in the second half,” it said.

It added: “The group has maintained investment in all strategic areas over this period, including technology, brand and supply, to ensure it remains well-placed to take advantage of the market share opportunity when demand for booking holidays returns.”

On The Beach started selling holidays again last month, saying that consumer confidence had returned.

Its own polling showed that 53% of people in the UK feel confident about booking a holiday during the last months of 2021. In July only a third said the same.

The company added: “While demand for international leisure travel currently remains below pre-pandemic levels, our specific initiatives, including the ‘Free Covid Tests’ promotion, combined with a further softening of government restrictions, have stimulated bookings in the final weeks of the financial year.

“The increased awareness of brand and strengthening of trading over this period provides confidence that there is pent-up demand for travel, and positions the business well as we enter 2022.”

Chief executive Simon Cooper said: “The strategic initiatives we have taken throughout the year to best navigate the crisis and manage risk while investing in our brand, people and technology, ensure On The Beach is in a strong position as we head into our typically busiest booking period.

“Thanks to the continued support from our shareholders and lender, we remain well-funded to successfully and sustainably grow market share.”

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