Shearings hails 'transformational year' for business

Shearings hails 'transformational year' for business

The boss of Shearings has heralded 2014 as a “transformational year” for the coach and cruise operator.

Group sales rose by 3% to top £200 million for the first time as carryings increased by 2% to 1.1 million over the previous year.

Earnings were up 22% on an Ebitda basis to £7.1 million.

The Wigan-based operator said that its tours of European battlefields, held to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and river cruises proved most popular with the over-50s, its target customer base.

The business, which was the subject of a management buyout last year, also reduced its overall net indebtedness further to £4.5 million from £7.8 million in 2013.

Shearings said that total bookings remained positive in the first three months of this year. Forward sales for the summer are up, despite a continuing trend towards last-minute bookings.

More than a third of bookings are now made online and it expects this to increase to 50% by the end of next year.

The Shearings Holidays and National Holidays brands are due to take delivery of 38 new high specification Mercedes Benz coaches from this month, the Manchester Evening News reported.

The group announced that former Travelodge chief executive and chairman Grant Hearn was joining as a non-executive director.

Group chief executive Denis Wormwell said: “This was a truly transformational year for the group with a successful capital restructuring and the third successive year of improved financial results, despite the challenging backdrop of unfavourable weather in the earlier part of 2014.

“Our loyal customers are experiencing the benefit of our ongoing investment programme in hotels, coaches and digital technology and we’ve attracted thousands of new customers with our ever-expanding range of short and long breaks in the UK and overseas markets.”

He added: “The ongoing rise in bookings and customer volumes has given us the confidence to continue the significant capital investment in our hotel estate.

"Over the next two years will be investing almost £10 million in room upgrades and improved facilities which we expect to increase further our repeat booking rates and customer loyalty.”


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