Fred Olsen Travel plans high street expansion

Fred Olsen Travel plans high street expansion

Fred Olsen Travel is to expand its shop network and says it is open to acquisition opportunities.

The seven-strong East Anglia-based agency chain, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has just announced a record year, with its shops reporting a 10% year-on-year increase in profits.

Pre-tax operating profits for the year ending December 25, 2012, increased 22% on the previous year for the group, which includes its shops, Go Cruise franchises, business travel, Star Clippers, for which it is UK general sales agent, and AmaWaterways, which it also represents in the UK.

Managing director Steve Williams (pictured) said the chain aims to have 12 shops on the high street, although it has not set a timescale for reaching this number.

The retailer has identified gaps in its portfolio, but has not ruled out a move outside the region by buying new shops or opening implants in department stores in surrounding counties. Previously, it had an outlet in department store Beatties, now House of Fraser, in Wolverhampton.

Williams said: “I would like to expand the portfolio. I see some benefit to having a bigger portfolio of shops. If we had 12, that would give us critical mass in the area.

“We are always on the lookout for acquisitions. If we could get five or six shops [in department stores] rather than establish shops outside East Anglia, we would also be interested.”

The retailer, owned by the Fred Olsen family but run separately from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, acquired Suffolk-based travel agency TravelQuest in January. The company hopes to increase sales of cruise holidays through TravelQuest but has no plans to drop the brand.


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