Travel agencies are benefiting considerably from the strength of the pound against the euro, which reached a seven-year high this month.
Some of the largest retailers reported a significant uptake in foreign exchange sales as the pound climbed to a peak of €1.41.
John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel, said the strength of the pound had been “absolutely fabulous” for sales.
“It’s been brilliant,” he said. “Our most recent figures for the Hays stores show a 70% like-for-like increase in currency sales for February.
“Our Bath stores were up 150% last month, although that isn’t like-for-like [six foreign exchange bureaux were opened in Bath stores last year after Hays purchased the brand].
“The increase for the whole group was 115%, so we’re thrilled.”
Hays added that euro sales had been the most significant contributor towards the growth.
Thomas Cook’s retail stores have also enjoyed a notable increase in currency sales.
The retailer’s total number of euro transactions was up 38% from February 27 to March 12, compared with the same period last year, while the volume of euros purchased rose 65% to £31 million over the same period.
Fraser Millar, head of FE strategy and development at Thomas Cook, said some customers were buying currency before booking holidays to ensure they got the good exchange rates.
“The gains in spending power mean that even those who have already booked package holidays at rates set in advance are expected to see significant benefits when it comes to buying their foreign currency,” he added.
A Thomson spokesperson said its stores had “seen a rise in demand for foreign exchange sales, particularly euros, compared with last year”.
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