TUI Group, the world's largest leisure and tourism company, expects annual profit growth of more than 10% over the next three years.

It also said today it will retire the Thomson brand in Britain as part of its post-merger shake-up. 

In its first strategy update since last year's merger of London-listed TUI Travel and German owner TUI AG, the company said it is also confident of meeting this year's target for profit growth of up to 15%.

A series of moves to simplify its structure, including the news that it would sell British hotel booking website LateRooms, showed that plans for the enlarged company are progressing faster than expected.

The rebranding of the group's various tour operator names under the single TUI brand will take up to three years, joint chief executive Fritz Joussen said today. 

"It's not a secret that I'm not a fan of having lots of brands," Joussen said, adding that it could take two years before the Thomson name disappears because of the need for a careful approach with such a well-known brand. 

Thomson began selling cheap package holidays in 1965, attracting families keen to swap rainy British seaside holidays for sunny continental beaches. TUI competes with Thomas Cook in the European holiday market. 

Earlier today, the group reported a 17% narrower underlying loss for its second quarter of €167.8m, helped by a strong performance in its cruise ship business. 

That, combined with pleasing summer trading, gave it confidence that it will meet its target of delivering operating profit growth of 10-15% on a constant currency basis for the year to September 30. 

Over the coming three years TUI forecast underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) growing by at least 10% a year, which analysts said was ahead of their 7% assumption. 

Signalling confidence in its cruise and long-haul holiday businesses, TUI also said it would order two new cruise ships to meet German demand and acquire two more Boeing Dreamliner jets. 

In its results statement, it said today that winter sales were 1% up compared to a year ago, with strong holidaymaker bookings in the UK, Germany and the Benelux countries.  Average selling prices were also 1% up over the same period.

The tie-up with Germany's TUI AG, has produced a business with more than 300 hotels, 136 planes and 1,800 shops across Europe selling holidays to 30 million customers in 180 countries. 

TUI said its summer holidays are 59% sold, in line with last year. Bookings are 2% up on a year ago, with average selling prices across its key markets up 1%, adding that the UK and Benelux countries were trading well. 

TUI said in the first six months of the year LateRooms generated sales of €31m, with an underlying earnings loss of €9m.