Hunt for bank deals boosts prices website

CONSUMERS’ search for promotional deals on financial services helped to increase sales at the start of the year.

The website said revenues from its money unit, where shoppers can compare banking products such as credit cards and mortgages, leapt 22 per cent after a 20 per cent jump in visitors.

It helped push the firm to a 14 per cent rise in internet revenue for the three months to 31 March, with total visitor numbers up 15 per cent. Core earnings rose 12 per cent.

The insurance division also performed well, with revenues up 13 per cent on the back of a nine per cent rise in visitor numbers, offsetting a drop in its travel arm. Revenue and visitors numbers both fell 11 per cent, reflecting the decline in the sector as hard-pressed Britons cut their spending on luxuries.

The website, which had 140m visitors last year, said however that its package holiday offering is performing well.

“ has made a good start to 2012. We have seen solid growth in our money and insurance businesses as consumers continue to use us to make their money go further,” said chief executive Peter Plumb.

The website also said it has made a “good” start to the current quarter with profitability increasing.

Analysts at Credit Suisse said they expected a renewal of speculation around a merger or acquisition of Moneysupermarket and forecast “superior” sustained sales growth compared to other media companies.

Shares in Moneysupermarket dipped 0.96 per cent to 134.4p.