EXCHANGING foreign bank notes at the airport is a ritual for many travellers, but more jet-setters are now ordering holiday cash online, Travelex boss Peter Jackson said yesterday.
The foreign exchange specialist, with 1,500 shops around the world, said global online and mobile sales rose 24 per cent this year, with nearly 40 per cent of UK sales now made via the web.
Travelex opened 37 more stores between January and June, but Jackson said the business would “absolutely not” reduce the number around the world, despite the growing strength of online forex shopping.
Jackson, who spent two days last month working the tills at Travelex at Heathrow and Manchester airports, said customers relied on staff for travel advice. “Our stores are important pick-up points for people ordering online,” he said.
“People who are going away to a place a bit less familiar want to spend time engaging with our colleagues. It’s amazing how much customers look to us for help and assistance with their travel.”
The business reported a seven per cent rise in like-for-like sales for the six months ending June, helping to drive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation up 41 per cent to £36.7m.
However, a strong pound hurt the company’s earnings, and on a constant currency basis they would have been 56 per cent higher at £41.1m.
Travelex was sold earlier this year by its private equity owner Apax to entrepreneur Dr Bavaguthu Raghuram (B.R) Shetty despite plans for an initial public offering of shares on the London stock exchange.
“We were looking at a potential IPO of the company and I was also out there talking to people,” Jackson said. “Dr Shetty is someone I’ve known for a long time. I went to see him to see and he was interested in buying the asset.”