Carlson Reports Record Sales of $39.8 Billion for 2007

Las Vegas, NV | February 28, 2008

As more than 4,000 invited guests and colleagues gather in Las Vegas to observe Carlson's 70th anniversary, the company today announced that 2007 was a record-breaking year in terms of systemwide sales from its global brands and services.

In 2007, Carlson's systemwide sales reached $39.8 billion, compared with $37.1 billion in 2006, a 7.3 percent increase. (Systemwide sales include all sales by Carlson's owned and franchised operations.)

Carlson is a global brand leader in business travel, hotel, restaurant, cruise and marketing services.

"Over the past year, we continued to reinforce our focused strategy to grow our core businesses and brands with partners around the world," said Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Carlson's chairman and chief executive officer. "We continue to make significant inroads in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as in the United Kingdom. As we move ahead, our company remains on a strong foundation, and our core businesses are poised for future opportunities."

In January, Carlson announced that Nelson, who has served as Carlson's chief executive officer for the past 10 years, will turn over her leadership position to Hubert (Hue-BARE) Joly (Jo-LEE) on March 1. Nelson will continue to serve as Carlson's Chairman of the Board. Since 2004, Joly has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Carlson Wagonlit Travel(CWT), the world's leading travel management company, which is 55 percent owned by Carlson.

"It is an exciting time at Carlson," Joly said. "I look forward to working with our operating groups on building on the legacy Marilyn and her family have established since our company was founded 70 years ago as a small, Minneapolis-based company that has expanded into more than 150 countries."

Carlson: In 2007, Carlson and Apollo Management L.P. (Apollo) announced that Apollo agreed to acquire Carlson's Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The transaction closed in January 2008. Carlson retains ownership of the master Regent brand, along with the worldwide operations of Regent Hotels & Resorts. As the brand owner, Carlson remains committed to expanding its scope and success on land and at sea. The transaction is part of Carlson's strategy to invest in its core businesses, including hotels and travel.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT): The world's leading business travel management company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel announced earlier this month that its 2007 sales volume increased 30 percent, and new sales, excluding renewals, increased 55 percent. Growth was particularly high in the United States (+45 percent), Australia (+42 percent), Singapore (+40 percent), Russia (+38 percent), China (+31 percent), the U.K. (+28 percent) and India (+22 percent). CWT also has made significant progress and innovation in the development of its four lines of products and services.

Carlson Hotels Worldwide: Adding 74 hotels to its global portfolio in 2007, Carlson Hotels Worldwide also announced strong growth and financial results. The year was highlighted by major global initiatives, including a significant new investment in the Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates four of the company's brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Carlson now owns 41.7 percent of Rezidor. Carlson's hotel brands are: Regent Hotels & Resorts®, Radisson Hotels & Resorts®, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, and Park Inn® hotels.

Carlson Restaurants Worldwide: In 2007, Carlson's restaurant division formed a joint venture with ABN AMRO Capital, which acquired 45 restaurant locations in the U.K. from Whitbread PLC. Carlson Restaurants Worldwide also completed 64 new restaurants openings (34 in the United States and 30 in international locations), bringing the total number of T.G.I. Friday's locations to 914. T.G.I. Friday's international business has grown by more than 100 restaurants in the last five years and has nearly doubled its system sales. In response to growing consumer demand, T.G.I. Friday's introduced a new menu category known as "Right Portion Right Price." This line provided consumers with smaller portion sizes at lower prices, while still offering a full range of larger menu items. T.G.I. Friday's was the first casual-dining chain to make this move. Worldwide, T.G.I. Friday's employs 80,000 people and serves 600,000 guests per day.

Carlson Marketing Worldwide: The agency was recognized as one of the world's top 20 agencies (Advertising Age). Carlson Marketing, focusing on its key areas of brand loyalty, and engagement and events, continued its tradition of retaining top accounts, while adding new clients to its roster, such as Wal-Mart, Sun Microsystems and Coca-Cola. Among regions, Canada led the way with another year of double-digit growth (18 percent). The agency earned 51industry awards, many of them for creative, interactive and mobile marketing work. Awards included being named to the list of top 25 leaders in meetings, incentives and engagement (Corporate Meetings & Incentives). The agency also received a Buzz Award for its AARP integrated campaign (AdWeek).

In addition to announcing 2007 sales results and business highlights, Nelson and Joly today are hosting an international business summit and world gala for invited guests as part of the 70th anniversary observance. Summit presenters include Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden; Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of Nestlé; Maya Angelou, poet, author and educator; and Dr. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum.

Regis Philbin will host the evening gala, featuring performances by Tony Bennett, Garrison Keillor, O Tahiti E, the Boys Choir of Kenya, Paul Potts of the U.K., Maria Alexandrova of Russia, and the Taiko Drum Ensemble of Japan.

Back to News Releases