Thomas Cook slashed its profit forecasts this morning, blaming Europe’s blistering summer heatwave for a “challenging period” that has forced the firm to downgrade its outlook for the year. The UK travel giant said it expected core earnings (Ebit) would be roughly £280m for the 12 months to the end of September, dropping about 13 per cent below a previous estimate of £323m to £355m range. According to Thomas Cook, higher-than-usual levels of discounting, coupled with increased competition and a fear that the hot summer will have a prolonged effect on winter holidays, has dented profits in what would normally be the firm’s busiest business time of the year. The firm said that customers spent June and July staying at home to enjoy the sunshine, putting off their holidays until later periods in August and September when companies such as Thomas Cook offer discounts. The company also announced it will replace its chief financial officer (CFO) later this year. Read more: Ryanair Belgium cabin crew vow to create ‘travel chaos’ with strike Boss Peter Fankhauser said the trading performance is “clearly disappointing”. However, the company added that a return in popularity to holidays in markets such as Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Greece has driven a 12 per cent rise in total booking during the summer months when compared with the year before.