Thomas Cook shares fall as online holiday bookings plummet

Shares in the holidays group Thomas Cook fell 5 per cent yesterday amid reports that its online bookings had slumped by 45 per cent during the first half of January – one of the key periods for the travel trade.

Although the travel industry as a whole saw total sales drop by 15 per cent in the first two weeks of the year, Thomas Cook's sales of summer packages were down 33 per cent, according to the industry's own monitoring system. Rival TUI's bookings were down only 11 per cent.

Thomas Cook did not deny the reports but pointed out that when it last reported in mid-December it was ahead of the industry for summer bookings.

At that stage its bookings were up 8 per cent compared with an 11 per cent reduction across the industry. It added that the reported figures were only for the UK and only for summer holidays.

The shares fell 0.75p to 14.25p.