Beset by a battered European economy, travel giant Carlson Monday reported flat year-over-year sales of $37.6 billion.
Managed revenue, the amount that’s actually returned to the company, declined by 1.5 percent to $4.4 billion.
The Minnetonka-based private company posted positive numbers in its hotel and restaurant divisions but saw a slight decline at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, its largest business segment, where total revenues were down 1.1 percent to $27.7 billion.
“Carlson’s outlook for the remainder of 2013 is one of measured optimism,” said chief executive Trudy Rautio in a statement. “We’ll continue to grow and invest in regions where we have the right partners and opportunities in the pipeline, particularly Asia Pacific, but we’re proceeding more cautiously in Europe where the economic headwinds continue to challenge our businesses.”
The flat 2012 results followed a strong performance in 2011 when revenues rose 13 percent over 2010. Carlson’s financial performance remains slightly below pre-recession levels.
The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, whose properties include Radisson and Country Inns and Suites by Carlson, posted a 2.9 percent increase in revenues to $7.2 billion. The company’s upscale Radisson Blu concept grew by 33 hotels with 21 more planned to be added in 2013, including one at the Mall of America.
Revenue for the T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant chain rose 5 percent to $2.7 billion with “strong international growth” in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Friday’s now has 926 restaurants worldwide.
“Moving forward, we will continue to strategically invest in our brands and businesses to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of Carlson,” Rautio said in a statement.
The revenue figures provided by Carlson reflect overall sales under the Carlson name. The full cost of an airplane ticket, for example, is included in the revenue number and not just the commission for that ticket. Similarly, hotel revenues reflect total sales and not just the franchise fees paid to Carlson’s hotel group by individual hotel owners.
Managed revenues for Carlson Wagonlit Travel were down 4.3 percent to $1.8 billion, while managed revenues for the hotel group and T.G.I. Fridays were up fractionally to $1.5 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively.