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Lastminute.com soothes fears over US attacks

Predicts buoyant Q4

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Online bucket shop Lastminute.com, has moved to reassure investors in the wake of the terror attacks in the US earlier this month.

In a statement issued to the Stock Exchange it said that in the last 14 days 382 bookings (0.2 per cent of the company's travel-related bookings over the last six months) have been cancelled.

The company said that while there would "undoubtedly be repercussions from that activity for some weeks to come" it insisted it would deliver at least £45 million of total transaction value during Q4, which ends on September 30.

Said CEO, Brent Hoberman: "This represents growth of over 50 per cent quarter on quarter and over 240 per cent year on year and our other operating metrics are in line with analysts expectations."

Hoberman also said that Lastminute.com's exposure to the US market was "very low" - flights to the US account for around one in 20 bookings.

Last week, UK-based online travel agent ebookers said it had seen 650 cancellations - most to the US - in the wake of events in the US.

Elsewhere, online sales are getting back to pre-September 11 levels, according to shopping comparison outfit BizRate.com, by way of Reuters.

It said online sales slumped by almost 40 per cent on the day of attacks in New York and Washington DC. However, by September 17, sales had recovered to $82.5 million a day - just $10 million short of daily ecommerce sales levels before the attacks. ®

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