Flight Centre bucks weak retail trend

Flight Centre has upgraded its full year profit guidance as it says has not been affected by a slowdown in consumer spending.

The travel agency expects its profit before tax for the year to June 30 to be between $285 million and $290 million, up to 18 per cent higher than the previous year's underlying profit before tax.

Flight Centre had initially forecast profit before tax of between $265 million and $275 million in the 2011/12 financial year.

"(Flight Centre) did not experience the sales slowdown that retailers in some discretionary sectors experienced during 2011/12, but it is fair to say that economic uncertainty in some markets has created a more cautious leisure travel customer," managing director Graham Turner said in a statement.

The company's growing presence in international markets has provided a buffer from downturns in particular markets, he said.

"It is no longer correct to think of (Flight Centre) as purely an Australian-based retail travel agency," Mr Turner said.

Expansion will continue, with the company expecting to grow its global sales force by between eight and 10 per cent, or about 1,000 new sales consultants, Mr Turner said.

"While (Flight Centre) will target further growth, economic uncertainty in some markets means it is premature to provide meaningful profit guidance at this early stage of the year," he said.

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