Flight Centre shock: Up to 100 branches to close
FLIGHT Centre will close up to 100 underperforming stores before June 30 as the coronavirus continues to cripple the global travel industry.
The underperforming stores are expected to close within months and sales staff redeployed to fill existing vacancies in other shops.
What stores will close has not yet been revealed by the company.
Flexible working arrangements will be offered, store trading hours reduced and staff urged to take leave as part of the cost-cutting measures.
Flight Centre will also freeze the hiring of new workers.
Flight Centre Managing Director Graham Turner said the company was prepared to overcome challenges.
"We are now seeing significant softening and expect this to continue into April at least," he said.
"Within this uncertain environment, our priorities are to reduce costs, while also ensuring that we and our people are ready to capitalise when the steep discounting that is underway across most travel categories starts to gain traction and as the trading cycle rebounds.
"As we saw with both SARS and the GFC in Australia, the rebound can be relatively fast and strong after a fairly significant downturn in international travel."
Mr Turner said the company would invest in sales and marketing "at a time when some of our competitors may be forced to pull back.''
He said low-risk destinations included Australian domestic and South Pacific holidays.
Flight Centre previously lowered its earnings guidance to between $240m and $300m, down from $310m-$350m.