ntrepid Travel has denied it will lose sales through Australia’s 12 Intrepid My Adventure Stores (MAS) despite relinquishing its 50% interest in the network to Flight Centre.
The companies, which have operated the shops under a JV for almost five years, will go their separate ways under a restructure announced yesterday. But they will retain close commercial ties with Intrepid remaining a key preferred supplier to the MAS network.
Flight Centre will take full ownership of the Australian stores from December 31, in addition to shops in Canada and Wellington from September 30, while Intrepid will retain control of the network’s stores in Auckland and London.
Under the new ownership structure Flight Centre will drop Intrepid from the store names which will simply become branded as My Adventure Stores.
Intrepid regional sales and marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand, Alison Mead, said there was no reason sales of its product should suffer despite the JV coming to an end.
“The goal is to grow sales through My Adventure Stores but in reality we believe we’ll maintain sales from last year and then begin to grow,” she said. “A lot of staff know the Intrepid product very well and we will remain a key preferred supplier.”
The split, which was described as amicable by both parties, comes as Flight Centre looks to expand the network, something it can achieve more easily with 100% ownership.
“In no way was Intrepid holding us back but it is certainly easier to grow when it is under your own control,” a Flight Centre spokesman said. “Intrepid will remain a key supplier for us.”
Mead said Flight Centre was “better placed” to expand the retail network. Moving out of the retail space will leave Intrepid free to focus on its core strengths of tour operating, she told Travel Today.
“There was a desire of Flight Centre to fairly rapidly grow the My Adventure Stores and while the JV was successful, we felt they were better placed to take it forward,” she said. “They are a great retailer to do that.”
Mead declined to reveal the level of sales generated for Intrepid through the JV stores but said 70% of its business comes through the trade, including the My Adventure Stores.
Intrepid managing director James Thornton said: “We both win with this agreement. Flight Centre is a retail expert, while Intrepid delivers fun, affordable and sustainable adventure holidays to travellers around the world.
“Moving forward this allows us to focus on our core strengths while retaining our close ties in order to grow the adventure travel sector.”
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