/Booking slowdown sees Saga shares fall | News

Booking slowdown sees Saga shares fall | News

Saga has warned that heavy discounting is taking a toll on its tours business.

At the same time, an overhaul of its insurance arm has yet to take effect, sending shares in the company to a record low.

The over-50s holiday company has been trying to shake off its image as only serving “old people” and begun re-branding after a profit warning in April.

Saga is also looking to find a new chief executive after Lance Batchelor announced his departure last week.

Shares in the company have fallen by two thirds in 2019.

They dropped by as much as 11 per cent, to 33 pence, this morning, after Saga said full year booked revenues had dropped by four per cent year-on-year.

In April, Saga said older Britons were cutting back on travel because of “political uncertainties” over Britain’s planned exit from the European Union and its bookings were being hit.

It said margins in its tours business were still being crimped by competitive discounting, which has also hurt rivals such as Thomas Cook.

Saga, which is set to launch a new cruise ship called the Spirit of Discovery next month, forecast an operating loss of around £3 million for its cruise business for the half-year, partly due to marketing costs for the new vessel.

Batchelor said: “We are resolutely focused on the execution of our new strategy and have a clear set of priorities.

“Against challenging headwinds in both travel and insurance, we see early signs of progress in stabilising our retail broking business and forward bookings for the cruise business have been resilient.”

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