While showing ongoing improvements in most areas, lastminute.com
‘s financial performance has nevertheless fallen short of expectations.
Overall pre-tax loss for the year was £77.2 million, compared with a £47.7 million loss in 2003.
Allan Leighton, Chairman said: “These results show that lastminute.com has performed solidly in a difficult trading environment for the sector in the last quarter and the year as a whole.Ê The further strengthened management team has delivered pre tax profit (pre exceptional items and goodwill amortisation) of £4.6 million and lastminute.com continues to be well positioned to take advantage of current lifestyle and technology trends.Ê I hand over the Chairmanship to Brian Collie at the end of quarter 1 with confidence that lastminute.com will remain a leading player in the online travel and leisure marketplace in Europe”.
Brent Hoberman, co-founder and CEO, said: “Whilst demonstrating continued improvements in most key metrics our financial performance has fallen short of expectations.Ê Our acquisition strategy has given us the necessary scale to compete across our core European market but this has come at the expense of a higher cost base.Ê However, the full integration of the acquired businesses is underway.Ê We have identified significant cost savings that we will deliver in 2005.Ê The underlying performance of the lastminute.com brand remains robust with 58.2 per cent organic growth in the year, and a record 2.9 million customers throughout the Group in the year.
The strong consumer adoption of self packaging continues to drive growth and enables us to deliver industry leading gross margins. Through our innovative brand position, leading technology and great product, lastminute.com is becoming increasingly a part of our customers’ everyday lives.Ê This, alongside our cost reduction programme, puts the business on a firm footing for profitable growth in the coming year”.