Flight Centre will shut a further 90 stores across Australia as the ongoing closure of state and national borders keep holidaymakers grounded and the travel group in hibernation.
The ASX-listed travel agent’s announcement on Wednesday comes after it already closed about 280 of its 700 local Flight Centre branded stores since the start of the year due to COVID-19.
The group has made about 4000 local staff members redundant this year, leaving it with a local workforce of about 3000, the company said.
Flight Centre said the closures were prompted by the ongoing domestic and international border closures, which had “led to billions of dollars in future travel bookings being cancelled”.
The company said it was already shifting its leisure business towards call-centres and online, and the additional closures would “reduce overlap between shops in higher density areas”, with 95 per cent of its customers still living within 5 kilometres of a retail store.
“Without question, the past six months have been the most challenging period in our almost 40 years in business,” Flight Centre Travel Group Australian managing director James Kavanagh said in a statement.
“We are incredibly sorry that some of our great people are not able to continue on their Flight Centre journey with us at this time but we are taking steps to preserve as many roles as possible for the future, while building a smaller but stronger overall network.”
Flight Centre said the fresh wave of closures will leave it with 332 branded stores. Including the company’s other brands such as Travel Partners, Student Universe and Travel Money the group it will have about 400 Australian stores, compared to 944 at the start of the year.
Flight Centre fell to a $662 million net loss for the 12 months to June 30 after COVID-19 travel restrictions slowed its revenue to a trickle in the last three months of the year.
The company undertook a $700 million capital raising and took on $200 million in fresh debt in April to boost its liquidity so it could make it through the extended pandemic shut down.
Source: Thanks smh.com