Barrhead Travel has announced a 20% increase in first quarter turnover to £27.5 million.
But the Scottish agency’s chief executive Sharon Munro also sounded a note of caution, with a “challenging” end to March “due in part to continuous bad press affecting the whole cruise market”.
Munro said Barrhead was outperforming the market, and was optimistic that business should improve further after Easter.
“The current economic climate has its challenges, but it has also presented opportunities for Barrhead Travel, with shops in prime locations becoming available at realistic rents, and longer rental periods being offered.”
Barrhead said January trading had been “healthy” while February had “held its own” and it is projecting a turnover of £155 million this year, an increase of 23% on 2011.
Munro predicted that Barrhead will benefit from experienced staff becoming available due to the closure of rivals stores and said it will open a call centre in Barrow-in-Furness in its first foray south of the border employing more than 100 people.
“The main reason for choosing Barrow in Furness was that Thomas Cook and Co-op are closing down Cumbria Cruise Centre, making approximately 55 great staff redundant,” she said.
“We’re offering everyone a job with us, and we intend to recruit and train more employees from the local area too.
“As well as specialising in cruise sales, the centre will provide tailor-made holidays to exotic destinations such as Peru and Vietnam, and this will be marketed solely on the internet.
“We do also plan to open shops in the North of England in the future, building on the success we’ve had north of the border – this is part of the long term strategy for the continued growth of the business.”
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